We all constantly give and get advice about how to raise a baby/toddler/child, and I can only assume that we’ll continue tormenting each other this way until our kids go to college, get married and have their own babies. Then everyone will have something to say about how to be a great grandparent.
Some of it is nonsense, but some of the advice being thrown around is really good. There is a lot to be said for listening to the people who’ve been through it before. All you have to do is determine which of the pearls of wisdom are really the pearls.
Unfortunately, I don’t always figure that out until it’s too late. Here’s some of the best advice I didn’t take:
> Once he can do it for himself, he should. Lord, yes. Some days I feel like I’m John’s waitress, maid, and butler all rolled into one. I think my friend Amy nailed it when she mentioned this one to me. If I had it to do over, I’d start pushing back sooner.
> Feed him everything. John’s Aunt Sarah never actually gave me this advice, she just casually did it with her own kids. (Lots of other people do too, but Sarah’s is where I really noticed it.) There was a very short period a few years ago when John would eat anything. I wish I’d taken more advantage of it.
> No means no. My own dad is the master of this. Even when he’s too polite to mention it to me, I know he’s thinking it. I know shouldn’t be negotiating. Trouble is, I’m a negotiator. I do it all the time. And now, so does John. Either he was born that way, too, or I’ve created a monster.
> Let the dad do it wrong. One of the nurses at the hospital told me this when John was born. Her point: your way is not the only way, and if you insist on it being done your way, you’ll be the only one doing it. So right! When John was small, I think I was too fast to say “I’ll just do it myself.”
There are surely others, but these are the ones that jump out. I didn’t listen when I should have! (I’m lucky that John is a pleasant, healthy person, because there are lots of days when I feel like I had nothing to do with it.) It’s too late for me, but if you’re just getting started, maybe there’s still time for you to take the advice. Good luck.