Learning to Deal with a Baby Boy

Wanna know why people have a 2nd child?

Parents have short memories. They forget PAIN easily. Many experienced parents (aka parents with older children) told me parenting gets more and more challenging as the child grows up. I found that those are bloody lies. However, I don't blame them. Like I said, parents have short memories. Yeah, parents of teens claim quarrels with their children keep them up all night. That's bullshit. Perhaps I took that too literally. The last time I remember, after a huge burst up with my dad when I raised a chair towards his chopper when I was in Secondary 3, he went to bed snoring as sound as a baby that night. Those parents that claim they stay up probably have insomnia in the first place.

Back to the question, once the first child becomes more independent, such as being able to feed, clean and dress herself, things start to feel more rosy. Parents (like us) tend to get complacent, totally how bloody tough it was for us to get to that stage. Then the wife suddenly have a bright idea. Since parenting seems fun now, why not have a second kid? Only to find out the horrors of taking care of a new born all over again.

Believe me, there are times I even gave in to temptation and dished out some solicited parenting advice. I was surprised how confident I sound. Little Ant brought me down to earth in no time. Whatever prior parenting experience seemed ineffective against the baby boy, who has totally different character, personality and habits to her sister. He surprises us with more antics in a few months than Albany in 5 years.

Little Ant learnt to walk soon after he turned 1 and began his great exploration in earnest. With our backs turn for a minute, he would be stirring water in the toilet bowl, switching on electrical switch all around the house, dipping his hands deep into moisturizing cream jars and so on ...  Lately, when he even dipped into the carton-full of apples we bought for just $2.99 and started munching on it silently while I was busily preparing dinner. We had to unlearn most of the things we thought we knew about handling a toddler and relearn accordingly - fast.

He rarely cry outside his basic needs, flashes his dimpled cheeky smiles often and is a curious learner. By now, he is able to feed himself by hand. At this rate, it looks possible to get him proficient with utensils before the year ends. 

I was asked why my kids could sit still at the table until the meal is over. The answer is straightforward. There is nothing they cannot do, if you allow them to fail. The role of the parent is make sure they do not get hurt during failure, not to prevent them from failing. At this stage, we also have to clear up the mess every single time until they get it right. I know many parents will rather keep things simple and save all the trouble by spoon feeding them. They will rather send them for enrichment classes, brain enhancement programs or whatever crap the businesses sell. Yet they spoon feed them, dress them, clean them and wipe their asses at the age kids somewhere else can make simple meals.

There is no such thing as good parent or right parenting. A set of parenting principles are as good as an opinion. I prefer to maintain my caveman style of parenting by teaching them basic survival skills first before anything else. Kids must be able to clean themselves and the house at a young age, then cook, swim, identify dangers and how to negotiate them in following years. Till now we have been focusing on instilling a strong learning attitude in them instead of forcing alphabets and numbers on them. They'll be alright.

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