What's with the tree lined road picture, you may be asking? That's a very valid comment, which I will endeavour to explain. You see, this is what I think parenting looks like. A long tree lined road, with no map and definitely no SatNav. It's a long journey on an unmarked road that leads to goodness only knows where!
You get dumped on said road when your bundle of joy arrives and then that's it, you have got to find your own way. Along the way you will find the odd signpost giving you a bit of an idea about what's coming up and preparing you for what you may need, but you have to work out how you're going to manage the journey. You may also encounter (I say you may, you most definitely will) family, friends and complete strangers along the road who will offer you all sorts of advice, some useful, some not so useful and you will have to decide if their directions are worth following.
I've travelled quite a way down the road now and I must say it's not been so bad. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a slog, but fear not, you are allowed to take a pit stop for a much needed cuppa from time to time, so long as you don't leave the road, you are not allowed to leave the road.
I wish I had equated parenthood to a journey earlier. It may have made those early days a little easier. You know the days where your colic ridden baby screams relentlessly for hours on end, every day for three months! I thought is was never going to end, but ludicrous bottles of Infacol and a lot of time past, I can see that it was just a steep gradient on the journey.
There are a few of those steep hills along the way, tantrums, illness, upsets and you have to learn how to manage those situations in a way that works for you and your child. And trust me, it is not one size fits all, I found that out with Miss L. Every child is different, therefore, they may need different approaches, even if they are siblings. This parenting lark would be so much simpler if I could just find the personalised manual for each of the girls. I've looked for them, but along with the volume switches, they appear to be missing (the volume thing is not such as issue now they are older, but would on occasion be helpful). I thought I might find a spare manual on Amazon or Ebay, but apparently they are no longer in print. So I'm back to finding my own way. I've come this far, so it can't be that difficult.
The important thing to remember is that this is my road, and you have your road. Every body's road is different. When we get to a fork in the road or a crossroads we choose which way we go and what pace we go at.
I love reading posts by bloggers with little people. Those times are just so exciting, but they can also be fiercely competitive. We all have at least one friend who phones (or in my case phoned) to say how much weight their baby had gained, how much he'd grown, or he's sat on his own/ crawled/ stood/ cruised/ walked. Why oh why, must they treat it like it's a race and try and coerce us into joining them? It used to drive me a little bonkers, actually it still does as some of those parents never stop being competitive. Personally, I've never seen the point in racing ahead, you might miss things along the way that you'll never get back; better to stop and look around you, take it all in and then move on at your own pace (which in my case is slow).
So no I am not going to tell you which path to take when your little one won't eat or sleep (partly because I can't remember what I did). I'm not going to tell you how quickly your child should get through those rather annoying Biff and Chip books, or ask you why your 9 year old can't solve quadratic equations yet. What I will say is this, if you are meeting all your child's basic needs and love and nurture them, then you are on the right path and you will enjoy a fabulous journey together. You won't always get it right, none of us do. I get it wrong a lot, but isn't that how we learn?
You don't have to be perfect, you can't be perfect, but you can be good enough and that is what matters. Relax and enjoy, you're doing a great job :-)