My boys are now nineteen and twelve, and they are pretty wonderful. Although I’ll never be voted Mom of the Year I don’t think I’ve done too badly at this whole parenting thing. I read to the boys constantly when they were little, and they both read regularly now simply because they enjoy it – I’m proud of that. But there are several things I would do differently starting all over today as a new parent:
1.) Baby Sign Language ~ Where was this idea when I was wracking my sleep-deprived brain trying to figure out what my kids wanted? Best thing since the Boppy pillow, let me tell you!
2.) Lovey ~ I did this right with John, but if I’d done it with Aaron seven years earlier it would have saved me about three years worth of sleepless nights. Give them a “lovey”, preferably a soft blanket, and put it in their little hands every time you lay them down to sleep. Start this as soon as you bring their butts home from the hospital. John’s was a blue blanket named “Woobie” and the moment it was in his grasp all tension would leave his little body and his eyes would start to drift closed – beautiful.
3.) Potty Training and Pacifiers ~ It used to drive me crazy when I’d be stressed about trying to get Aaron potty-trained or wean John away from his Binky and an experienced mom would say “Don’t worry, he’ll get rid of the diapers/pacifier before he goes of to school!” It’s the truth, though. They will do these things on their own time schedule and no one else’s. Don’t waste your mental energy.
4.) Bullying ~ This lesson was learned only a couple of years ago – recently enough that it still makes my heart ache. Bullies are everywhere and they are not going away. Ignoring them doesn’t work. If the teachers, coaches, or other responsible adults aren’t willing or able to to remedy the situation get your child out of that environment. Pull them off the team, switch schools, whatever it takes. Your child’s well-being is more important than “working within the system”.
5.) Sodas ~ Once they taste sodas there’s no going back. You can limit their sodas, but they will always want more. I would love to go back and simply never give my children that first sip of Coke.
What do you wish you’d done differently?