When I became pregnant with our first child in 2002, my husband and I were inundated with advice and old wives tales. I recall my aunts saying, “You can tell whether you’re having a girl if you’re carrying high.” Or was it “low?” We had a boy. Two of them. One is now six years old and the other is four.
Then I read an article somewhere claiming, “Don’t lift your arms up too high, or you might overstretch the umbilical cord and choke the baby.” I practiced prenatal yoga stretching. The downward-facing dog did wonders for my aching sides. Also, I am happy to tell you that both of my boys did not choke from the umbilical cord in vitro. They did have the occasional hiccups, however.
The advice was taken with grace, some with gritted teeth and some with genuine gratitude. What no one shared with us during my time of prenatal bliss were the post-partum events, which I was not prepared for. These occurrences span from the newborn phase through Kindergarten. I’ll just share with you my top four lessons in the school of parenting.
Lesson one, I was clueless as to how much discomfort was involved, down there. Note that this is after giving birth. I naively thought that the birthing process alone was the most painful part. The swelling and soreness after the baby was born were highly unexpected. Let’s just say that ice packs and an inflatable doughnut were my best friends forever, well, at least for a week or so.
Lesson two, the popular nursery rhyme along the lines of, “Snips of snails and puppy dog’s tails, that’s what little boys are made of” is a slanderous lie. Most of the little boys I have come across are sweet and sensitive children, including my own. They actually cry more than my two-year-old niece when injured. My niece just gets right back to playing without so much as a whimper. Meanwhile, our boys are milking the soothing process for as long as possible, just so they can get unlimited hugs from Mama. Also, if you’ve ever seen my sisters and me fighting as kids, the “sugar and spice and all things nice” phrase was not the most accurate description of us.
Lesson three, Cain and Abel suffered sibling rivalry before the birth of Christ. I highly doubt that this biblical archetype of brotherhood dispute will go away anytime in the near future. When my two sons fight, luckily, they don’t hit each other. Instead, they are the tattletale cops for everything that the other one does. The younger one is the Chief of Police in this department. Now I know why my mother would get so upset after walking into one of our childhood war zones. You get protective of each child when one hurts the other. Being a referee in this sport is like being a criminal judge for both parties.
Lesson four, the bittersweetness we experienced when our firstborn sauntered through Kindergarten was met with confidence, yet trepidation. Our son matured from a tender preschooler to an official big boy with big boy buddies who love Star Wars. The connection between father and son changed too. Our Kindergartner went from kisses to high fives at morning drop off. Then the emotional pull from each song recital was enough to make me long for those zombie-like nights of nursing at a fuzzy three o’clock in the morning.
As our boys grow older, I am aware that there will be more lessons to learn from. These four are just the beginning of a series of triumphs and challenges. I am quite sure that there will be more suggestions, solicited or unsolicited. In the meantime, I will continue to cry at school concerts and at each time an entire book is read without too much help from Mama and Papa.
By Charmaine R. Velasco
Meditation: Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6
You will succeed because Jesus loves You!