Friday, June 28, 2013

Parenthood: Week 5 – Celebrating The Small Things

Being the parent of a newborn kind of sucks.

There’s the lack of sleep, the endless diaper changing, feeding him like every two hours (which Diana takes care of almost all of the time) and the fact that your schedule, and your life is no longer under your control.

You do all of these things for a little baby that doesn’t smile at you, barely acknowledges you when you come in the room and doesn’t even know his or her name. While you can’t describe the enormous amount of love you feel for your child, he or she has no real way of showing that love back to you.

So how do you handle all of this? You got to celebrate the small things.

When I taught special education, one of the things I learned was to get really excited about small accomplishments, not only for the students case, but also for your own happiness. In teaching, the accolades are rare so you have to celebrate the small accomplishments because that’s all you got to get you through the day.

The same thing goes for being the parent of a newborn. Graduation is a long ways away, college or preschool. So what do we have so far to be excited about?

There was the moment after we got home from the hospital and could see Ollie’s eyes tracking a book full of black and white high contrast images. As we watched his eyes dart around the image we saw him taking early steps to explore the wonderful world around him.

There was the moment when he grabbed my shirt for the first time. Ollie had held my hand (well more like my finger) from the first day he was born, but when I held him and tried to put him down and realized that he had grabbed my shirt it felt like for a moment that he needed me.

Then there was his one-month doctor visit.

We have been truly blessed with Ollie’s health this past month. While we didn’t have anything specific to be concerned about before this visit, I still worried. I was happy to hear that his weight was good and that everything looked great. But it was when the doctor showed us a couple exercises to do with Ollie that I’ll never forget.

Our doctor showed us an exercise where he held Ollie’s torso and let his legs try to take the weight of his body. Ollie had no problem doing this and the doctor told us, “Wow, he’s doing great, he has really strong legs.”

From the first time I heard Ollie’s heartbeat, I knew that he was strong, but to hear this confirmed by the doctor and to see him working at supporting his weight, I felt a mixture of relief, pride and overwhelming joy.

You don’t have to love everything about being a parent to love being a parent. And yes, being of a parent of newborn isn’t fun sometimes, but I love this experience. Like I tell Ollie, every day is a new adventure.

Amazing moments happen every day; you just have to take the time to celebrate them.

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