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Thursday, April 26, 2012

What to Expect

There's a lot of information out there on parenting. There's a lot of advice, both good and bad, both in books, videos, and from friends, family, even mere acquaintances. When I learned I was pregnant, the doctor recommended What to Expect When You're Expecting, and it really was good in a lot of ways. It covered the entire pregnancy in detail, and even the first year of a baby's life, addressing real peoples' questions. It even tackled the hard stuff, like what to do when something goes wrong. 

But I there isn't anyone, any book, that can cover everything. No matter how many books you consult, no many how many people you talk to, there will always be surprises. Every baby is a brand new person, and completely unique, and I really don't think there is one "right way" to raise a child. Each needs something different--more attention in some areas, less in others, even within the same family. Maybe even especially within the same family. For example, I've always been great at school, and I always did my homework without my parents' supervision or prodding. My sister, on the other hand, wouldn't do it unless she was forced to, and even then, she struggled. 

Nothing can ever prepare you for the way you feel when you first see that little person who's been growing inside you. When it comes to parenting, there are no road maps; each and every child is undiscovered territory, and each experience, even those you can prepare for, is like sailing in uncharted waters. 

All you can do is ride the wave, and hope you don't make too many mistakes along the way. It's a hard realization, maybe. Especially for a control freak like me. But I, for one, am going to try to sit back and enjoy the ride--because they only grow up once. 

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