Our baby Elizabeth was born to us on 24th September and this opened another chapter in my life. Prior to her birth, I went on a rampage to read every possible book I could get on parenting both babies and toddlers. I particularly favor this author Tracy Hogg who was also dubbed the ‘Baby Whisperer’.
Her words and strategies has helped me ensure that our baby girl started out on the right note from eating to sleeping and even daily handling. I am very cautious about not making the same mistakes with Joel. Nonetheless it seemed that my sleepless nights of worrying before she was delivered was for naught.
Elizabeth is what Tracy would label as an Angel baby and by the third week, she was already sleeping through the night by herself!! Sometimes I wonder if this would what life should have been if Theo and I had waited. In the midst of setting things right with her, I feel a tinge of guilt for having shortchanged Joel so much from his infancy to his toddlerhood.
He didn’t have a mother who was prepared to have him. And she was always condemned for doing it the wrong way until she failed to rely on motherly instincts to know her son. She was too young to give up her life to tend to the needs of her extremely sensitive boy.
I suddenly recalled his time at the infant care when I started work. He was 7 months old where separation anxiety peaked. And then when he fell sick, his caregivers did not respect his feelings and left him crying in a corner by himself, afraid he might spread the virus to other children.
And then we finally shifted to be on our own and things worked out better. But he was still confused with different styles of care given by his paternal and maternal grandparents as well as his own parents. To make matters worse, on weekends Theo and I, the typical introverts would rather laze at home in front of the TV, computer or book than exhaust our energy bringing him out for walks.
He couldn’t have thrived in a haphazard environment where there was no routine except when his parents are finally done with their own entertainment. I suppose we failed to validate his feelings and needs.
So now I am trying my best to undo all my past errors and help Joel to find his security and stability. I am very thankful that Elizabeth does not require so much of my attention save for her feeds, bath, changing diapers and bedtime ritual.
Nonetheless our little Joel is feeling the ‘competition’. Though he doesn’t vocalise his emotions (or rather does not know how) he is showing his insecurity in his actions whenever I am tending to his sister. Yet at the same time he seems to adore her so it is kinda conflicting time for him to deal with.
Doesn’t help that Theo is back in reservist for two full weeks leaving me alone to deal with them. Thank God I am still on my maternity leave. Speaking of which, I will be returning to work in one and half weeks and have yet to find suitable childcare options for Elizabeth.
Initially I was counting on Theo’s parents to stand up to the task especially since she is so easy to take care of. But looking at the way things are, Theo’s parents seem to be taking it easy and enjoying their coupledom and semi-retirement.
Theo’s mum keeps insisting that I get a maid as if that would solve all problems. Then because of distance and transport issues, it is also difficult to get my mother to care for her especially since my dad is no longer in the picture plus my brother is forever travelling and still living life irresponsibly.
So it comes down to paid help. I can’t seem to trust myself to find a nanny to look after her. I’m afraid that my lack of judgement would cause me to employ one who would detrimental for her development, so at the end I am still more partial towards infantcare solutions. At least with more teachers and a government licensed establishment, you feel safer.
So now a new phase of my life begins. With a firmer knowledge on parenting, I suddenly want to become a better parent. I realised that good children don’t grow up accidentally. It must be based on a conscious effort by their parents to inculcate the right values and discipline.
Joel is a Spirited and also Sensitive child so we need to find avenues for him to exhaust his energy while respecting his sensitivity by providing a structured routine which sadly we have failed in both. For our princess, time will tell what we can do to maximise her potential.
I like what Tracy said in her book, our children is not ours. They are God’s gift for us to nurture. Perhaps if all else fails, I would at least have two kids to leave behind when God takes me home.