"to market to market to buy a fat pig, home again home again....big fat chubby!" "Old mother hubbard lived in a shoe she had so many children...she cursed them all and put them to bed!" my daughter...age 4. yes, motherhood is enough to turn the most civilized into a raving lunatic. Life before children seems to be a big build up towards it. Like achieving motherhood is the ultimate personal accomplishment. It happens and we seem to fall into a temporary netherworld. This world I wouldn't exactly call "bliss", more like a state of shock interrupted by moments of terror, interrupted by bliss, interrupted by panic and so on....This pattern repeats itself for each new child we decide to bring into this world. Some of the critical things I have learned that are essential to being "good parent" are;
1) The Infant years. Be environmentally considerate.ie. cloth diapers, homemade baby food....hell, clothes out of curtains are a few of my favourite things... Avoid any kind of dependancy on bottles. That means the baby AND you! If either of you do fall victim to this, tell no one "you heathen!". Stimulation, stimulation, stimulation! Got it? This is were you need to practice your in-depth early years training and utilize proper language, developmentally appropriate, multiculturally diverse, positive self esteem building strategies! DO OR DIE!
2) The toddler years. Issues for concern here are; Too much tv time, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, enough stimulation, early screening for problems, or as luck may find you, to detect genius/gifted tendencies. we all want to know our children are "special"! Now it is critical at this stage to never allow your child to appear in public with a bottle (or you, unless it is designer water) - of course they will have naturally moved past this stage and will have become much more refined "sippy cup" drinkers by now anyways. "toilet learning?!" Your on your own- a side note; it is NOT ok to ever lose your temper, show disappointment, or be anything but positive at all times. Practise phrases such as "no biggie, the car needed a good shampoo anyway...its mommies fault" may come in handy. Also, at this stage you should be making an appearance at as many playgroup, "mommy and me", "little yoga bodies" etc activities as possible so that you can demonstrate to others your supreme parenting skills. This is where the "refined sippy drinking", peanut-free, organic snacks will be particularly observed. If no other moms talk to you, go home and try harder next time!
3) The Preschool years. Well lets talk academics. Montessori, leapstart, french immersion etc are the heart of these years. Be prepared to hear that more children than you can imagine are not only reading but have down right mastered Shakespeare in more than one language by now. a light at the end of the tunnel is near and many are settling into a generous dose of smugness! While I on the other hand felt more scrambled than ever, cramming as much vital information/sippy drinking , in as possible knowing that "judgement day" or as others know it....junior kindergarten was vast approaching!