I began the planning of raising a child before Lily was even a twinkle in my eye and continued while she was growing in my belly.
I read books, magazines, and Googled. I did all of my research. I knew everything that I would do to raise this little one up into the perfect little person.
Then she arrived and boy did my plans change…
BEFORE: I know all the benefits of breast-feeding. I will do it because it will make her smarter and healthier. It will form a stronger bond between her and I. It’s going to be magical.
AFTER: Formula. All. The. Way. I was sick for the first six months of my pregnancy and when I finally felt better I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I couldn’t partake in the “eat whatever you want, listen to your cravings” mentality. I had to test my sugar twice a day and constantly go for those glucose tests where you drink that foul liquid. When she was born, I just wanted my body back to myself.
BEFORE: I will use cloth diapers. It will be better for her and better for the environment. I’ve also read that potty-training will be easier once the time comes if they are in cloth diapers.
AFTER: With the 15 extra loads of laundry that I now had daily from a pooping, peeing, spitting up all the time baby, adding another daily load of poopy diapers was the last thing I wanted to do to myself.
BEFORE: Lily is going to sleep in her crib the day she comes home from the hospital. She is going to get used to sleeping in her own crib, in her own room, and will not be in my bed with me, EVER.
AFTER: She slept in a bassinet in my room for the first three months, a mini-crib in my room for the next nine, and sleeps in our bed with us at least once a week.
BEFORE: When it comes time for baby food, I will make it all myself. It’s so much more nutritious. It’s cheaper. I already have a magic bullet and I will register for baby food containers.
AFTER: Gerber, Gerber, and more Gerber.
BEFORE: When she begins to eat table food, she will LOVE fruits and vegetables because I will teach her to love them. They will be offered to her daily, so she will have no choice but to love them.
AFTER: Although she DID love them when eating baby food, once the table food came she wouldn’t touch them. Still won’t on most days. If it has any type of color, she wants nothing to do with it. She may put some of it in her mouth for a total of one second before spitting it out.
BEFORE: If for some reason she won’t eat fruits or vegetables, I will not hide it in other food. This leads to even more finicky eating and as God as my witness, I will MAKE her like them.
AFTER: Soups, stews, meatloaf, and smoothies are staples of this family’s menu.
BEFORE: I would prefer her only snacks to be fruits and veggies, but if for some reason I give her anything else, it will be healthy and organic.
AFTER: I currently have what seems to be a never-ending supply of Goldfish, Teddy Grahams, and Ritz crackers in my pantry.
BEFORE: She will only drink water and milk.
AFTER: Although she does drink both, if I want to prevent dehydration I must give her juice once (sometimes twice) a day.
BEFORE: Meals will always be wholesome and homemade.
AFTER: Today she ate Honey Nut Cheerios, Spaghettio’s, and Veggie Straws. I’m just glad I got her to eat something this week. Yes, I said this week.
BEFORE: I will also make sure she has a palate like my own. I love and will try almost any ethnic food – Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Italian, Afghani, Ethiopian. She will eat a large variety of food as well. She will not be a buttered noodles/chicken nuggets/macaroni and cheese kid.
AFTER: She really doesn’t like buttered noodles, nuggets, or mac ‘n’ cheese, but we have pot roast and chicken noodle soup at least once a week. At least I know for sure she will eat those.
BEFORE: She will not watch TV. Studies have shown that it is not good for developing minds and does nothing for speech development.
AFTER: The Wiggles, Bubble Guppies, and Sesame Street give me time to cook, time to clean, time to use the washroom, and time to breathe. They are my best friends.
BEFORE: My child will not have unnecessary tantrums over small things. If she does, I will teach her how to control her feelings. It’s never too early to start.
AFTER: Today she had a melt down because she couldn’t get her sock off. I sat there giggling at her.
I’m the type of person that usually needs things to be perfect and always wants to do things the correct way. It’s very difficult for me to think about these before’s and after’s because I feel like I’m not always doing things the right way and just flying by the seat of my pants. I often wonder how terrible of a parent I am compared to most and how badly I am screwing up my child.
But then I watch her grow and thrive. I see that she’s happy. I see that she’s healthy. And it makes me remember the one, most important, plan that hasn’t changed.
BEFORE: I will love her, more than anyone or anything, with all of my body, heart, and soul.
AFTER: I do love her, more than anyone or anything, with all of my body, heart, and soul.