Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Practicing Intervention

2013 is going to be such a fun year for a lot of people. Mainly because what feels like half of my friends had kids at the end of last year, or are having them at the beginning of this one. This means that they will experience the first year of parenting a child. And I have such sweet friends that ask for my advice. And on the inside all I'm thinking is, "Have you seen my life, my kid? Do you really think I've done anything right? Really? You're just being nice right now, it's sweet." But on the outside, I stammer something like, always make a decision you are comfortable with. I never give specific advice, for a specific reason: No human is specific. That's why when you go off to college and decide to major in something crazy stupid like, oh, Sociology (I did:)) and then people tell you, why don't you get a REAL major. It's because the Humanities aren't considered REAL science, because you can't put humans into an equation. Ever. Trust me, as a social worker for almost three years, and a mom for a little over a year now. Your little human you are growing, will never follow the same equation as any other human. That means that, according to the human population, there is over six billion ways to grow a human. At this point in time, I'm thinking high level calculus is easier than the human equation.

But ever the human race, we still try to quantify (or is is qualify?) ourselves into a neat package. Dr. Spock wrote a book in the 60's, a million people have been writing them since. We read Babywise or we take on philosophies of breast feeding until the child can talk, or have a family bed, or we do the exact opposite of all of that. All in the ever-present desire to grow a human the "right" way. You know, we want them to become smart, or to play an instrument well, or to impact the world for something! We don't want them to sit at home and waste their life. We want them to be happy and to reach their potential. And all of that energy boils down to whether or not we are going to breast feed them or not? Why yes, yes it does. Oh my gosh, is it any wonder why mom's are so stressed out these days about all these different things? Well, maybe I'll address more of that in another blog, but today, to answer my sweet friends who ask if I have any advice, I'll tell you the one thing I am trying to learn, and will probably be trying to learn everyday for the rest of Karis' life. You ready?

When should I step in and intervene?

I struggled with this when K was doing tummy time, then when she was learning to crawl, (I actually never intervened when she was learning to walk, because, to be honest, I did not want her to walk soon, but she took care of learning to walk all by herself, on her own... so...) when to intervene if she is learning a new thing, like climbing. Do I help her climb? Do I discourage her from climbing? When I know she's about to bust it trying to climb on the chair, do I let her bust it, or prevent an accident? There are pro's and con's for each argument. When do I step in my daughter's life and teach her? Do I do it before she is about to hurt herself, or after? When is she the most teachable? I honestly have struggled with this all the time. As a parent, I never want my daughter to feel pain, but sometimes if feels like she is bent on feeling it no matter how many warnings I give her. Do I step aside and watch in pain as she busts it for the 1000th time, or once again step in to prevent an accident and have her attempt to hurt herself again? Does this sound familiar to older mothers? I mean, am I not incorrect in saying that for the rest of my life I will be wondering "when should I step in on this?". 

But I want to learn this early, she is not an equation. There is no exact same way I should step in all the time. I want to learn fast to lean into the Holy Spirit. To head the direction of the One who knows all. I think if I could practice this step early, in little things, in baby steps. Maybe, I'll won't be caught off guard when she's a pre-teen coming home from school with all kinds of new problems that I am just not ready to think about right now. I want to practice learning when intervention is best. 

So, do I have any advice? Not really, the first year of parenting is so hard. Because you are learning when to practice intervention all the time. Whether is letting her cry it out at night, to going in and soothing her, all the way to when it's time to start baby food, and on up to where to go to college. We make what we feel are little decisions at the child's beginning, but what we don't realize is we are practicing for the big stage, when the decisions have a greater risk and reward. So, my advice is to practice now listening to God, and seeking His advice on the little things, and being at confidently at Peace with your decisions. Because I so agree with the scripture with the Lord says, "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones." I 100% believe that verse applies not only to our gifts, but our parenting as well. I hope you have a wonderful year learning more about your beautiful babies and how to grow a human. Keep letting me know how it goes! Love you all.