“She’s never fussy for more than a few minutes a day”
“He slept through from 5pm – 6am from when he was a week old”
“She’s always smiling…so sociable and playful”
“He eats so well!”
Those are types of things I heard in the first few months after I gave birth that made me think really hard about what I might have been doing wrong. I never once considered the possibility that my child would be any but calm and peaceful. A baby who loved her food and her sleep. I suppose I’d never heard anything but positive, sweet stories of my own babyhood so I just assumed that any baby I had would be just like me. I should have known when she started to move almost non-stop around 16 weeks.
After about a week of sleeping on her father’s shoulder, she suddenly became more aware of her environment and proceeded to pretty much demand to be carried around all day long. She didn’t want her moses basket. Or the couch. And sometimes, not even our bed. She wanted to be on a lap or a shoulder. And not just anyone’s. She was picky. Still very much is. Her little personality shone through from week 2! And what a strong personality it is. She wanted what she wanted when she wanted it and if she couldn’t have it, she’d cry non-stop.
There’s little research to show that there’s any difference between the temperaments of boys and girls until a bit later -after about a year old. Before a year old, differences between boys and girls have been found in how active they are and in their levels of inhibition in relation to how they react to things they could be afraid of.
It seems that a lot of first time mums think of their babies as not-the-easiest and that makes a lot of sense when you consider that both mum and baby are finding their feet.
Our job as parents – and the job of anyone else who considers themselves our children’s caregivers – is really to “respect…the individuality and integrity of each child, and [be flexible] in creating environments that may lead to positive outcomes for them and for us“.
It’s important to me though to try my best to use more positive words for my little girl. I’ve had to expand my vocabulary and consciously say a prayer in my head whenever anyone (including myself) uses any negative words to describe her. I firmly believe that life and death are in the power of the tongue and labelling her as in any way tough or difficult could absolutely become a self-fulfilling prophecy. While I know that changes to children’s behaviours never happen overnight, I also know that prayer changes things so I continue to feel encouraged by the amazing person she already is and will become. I’m just grateful to have a healthy, intelligent, independent and very determined little princess as my daughter.
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