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Thursday, May 30, 2013

My Parenting Instincts

Scarlett on the day she was born.

I am an overthinker. I research, and analyze, and research some more. But once I make a decision, I stick with it. That's pretty much true for even simple decisions, like where to go to dinner. I rarely change my mind.

When we were having our baby, I got all kinds of parenting advice. I think everybody gets a ton of unsolicited advice when they're having their first kid. It ranged from just trusting your instincts, to reading and following certain books. So here's what I realized about my parenting style -- my instinct is to research and read a bunch of books. 

I do think there's something to be said about going with your gut. I am with my baby all day every day, and I know her better than anybody else. I can read her thoughts. I pretty much know what toy she's going to destroy before she does. But that all took a lot of time, and it's an ever-changing process.

I thought when she was born that I would take one look at her and just "know her." I hear people say "I knew my baby was going to be feisty by the way he kicked around in the womb" or "even as a newborn she was so calm and gentle." I didn't know any of that about my kid. My favorite is when people tell you that you'll know when your baby cries what they want. Her cries all sounded the same for the first few weeks, so I felt like a terrible mother when I couldn't tell what any of them meant. I didn't "just know."

Funny Baby Ecard: I wish we had even a clue as to what we're doing.

I needed to get to know my baby, and I needed to figure out how to do it, so I turned to books. The routines of Babywise and The Baby Whisperer helped me figure out how to read my baby's needs.  And now I can go with my gut during the day. If Scarlett sleeps in, I know how to adjust her day to know when she'll be hungry and need to sleep and need to play. I know when she'll be in a good mood. I know when she's fussy and how to solve it. 

So I think that's a big part of why I started this blog. I felt like I had been trying to explain all of this to a number of people lately, and I wanted to get it down in writing. I wanted to be able to look back with our next kid to remember what I did and how I did it. And lucky you gets to read about it all here!

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