THE SEVEN PHASES THAT EVERY PARENT EXPERIENCES
Stage 1: Me, have kids? Really?
Your biological alarm goes off. Every baby is unbelievably cute. Am I ready for kids? They are pretty darn cute. Why not? Plus, making babies is quite fun!
Stage 2: Blue line pregnant or no line? You missed your period and are trying to decipher your home pregnancy test. Are you pregnant? Wow! A sweet baby face could be on its way. You ponder this as you run to the bathroom yet again.
Flash forward a few months. The kicks, elbows, backaches, and swollen ankles are part of your daily routine. Gross! Varicose veins. What happened to your body?
Baby arrives with loud fan fare. You swear at your husband and swear you can't take the pain of giving birth ever again. You spot her cute grin and your heart melts.
Phase 3: A first time for everything
Sleepless nights, sore nipples, dieting to lose all those extra pounds. Meanwhile, the little darling can do no wrong. Look! She smiles! And she has discovered her toes! I wonder if they really taste so good?
First time: sitting, crawling, standing, walking. First word, First solid food. First potty. First full blown, lie-on-the-floor-and-kick-the-feet tantrum. Each a major achievement to celebrate.
Nursery rhymes and pat-a-cake - crucial for child development but, all too often these days, delegated to the TV. First kindergarten or school: a mixed blessing. Where did my baby go?
Phase 4: Playing outside and with friends
She is no longer your little baby. She goes to school. She wears a uniform that makes her look so independent. The bathroom humour surfaces. Who knew relieving one's self could be so funny. Common "firsts" evolve to the first best friend and the first time facing rejection. She loves to run around the playground and ends up with bumps and scrapes. She realizes that life is not always fair. You want them to be independent, but it is hard. Why can't you have the ability to protect them from the world?
Phase 5: Reading, Riting and Rithmatic
Time to put the play aside for a moment. There's letters and sums to learn. For some, it is just a walk in the park, for others it is climbing Everest. It is at this time that the differences between children become apparent. Those with easy kids can't see what all the fuss is about, yet for others it is the beginnings of years of stress, worry, tears and heartache.
Even so, there are always the little events to remember - All she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth (along with Barbie and a puppy dog!)
Time too for rules and chores, they're not your little babies anymore!
Phase 6: Almost a teenager
They hit puberty and their body will be changing every day. The girls hang with the girls and the boys hang with the boys. Girls are too silly for boys. Girls think boys are not mature.
Your fashion sense will be out of style no matter what. No one wears the clothes you have in your wardrobe and your daughter will point this out to you. You will wonder what fashion icon your child is emulating.
Lingo changes from what you said when you were her age. The training bra and makeup come on. Puberty wreaks havoc on voices.
Phase 7 - "Kevin goes Large" Suddenly boys and girls are not so alien after all. Does (s)he fancy me?
Suddenly too, your precious child, whom you taught everything, knows more than you. In fact, you apparently, know nothing, and they knows everything!
Parents are out, friends are everything. So is music and fashion. And late nights. "Aw mum, why do I have to be back so early - everyone else is staying until 3 am!" Oh yeah? Are they really?
But, every now and then, you can have an amazing conversation with your new young adult - as long as you aren't trying to lecture them.
Then, one day, the fireworks settle. The grunts turn into English again and like a phoenix from the ashes, and new (adult) human emerges - full of ideals and dreams and visions, but perhaps a bit short on confidence and wisdom.
Phase 8 - (So I'm not a mathematician.) Your daughter has gone to college. You worry about her everyday. Did she have a good dinner? Are her clothes clean?
You will always have a place in your heart for your children no matter what they do.
Time flies. Take a moment to enjoy the special ness of each and every day with your children.
If you could do with some tips about your children's behaviours, take a look at Dr. Noel Swanson's excellent website, http://www.good-child-guide.com. And get his free parenting newsletter - it's packed with free advice.
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