25 November 2011, by Tan Yi Lin
Parenthood is a rewarding experience, right from Day 1 when your tiny newborn baby is placed in your arms. Sounds like a good advertisement, no? You see rewards right away! No need to wait many years for your investments to pay off.
In Part 3, the list continues. But with double the number of good times than challenging ones 🙂
TOP 10 MOST REWARDING PARENTING MOMENTS
1) Seeing my husband embrace fatherhood
Dan just texted me this morning asking if he should bring Coco to the office because it was Bring Your Kids To Work day. Proud Papa, he is. But the practical part of us decided that it wasn’t quite worth the logistics involved in bringing the baby out, just so that people could say hello to her for 15 minutes, then either bring her all the way home or have her stuck to Dan for the rest of the day. Maybe next time!
It’s hard to put so much down in a paragraph. Seeing Dan with Coco is just sweetness, gratitude, appreciation, joy and love all rolled into the pair of them. Granted that I get a tad impatient sometimes when he scrambles around for baby items when we need them NOW NOW NOW and I have to resist the urge to do things myself. It really is a huge blessing to have your other half want to be so involved in all things baby because it’s easy for the men to get brushed aside when the wife, wife’s mother, wife’s aunt, helper and his own mother are fussing over the baby ALL the time.
I can’t wait for Coco to get to do all sorts of fun things with her dad like swimming, playing on the beach and at the playground, reading and even gaming on the Kinect together!
2) Seeing my parents embrace grandparenthood
In particular, I think it’s really sweet that:
– My parents rush into the house to see Coco everyday upon coming home from work with socks, shoes, handbag, etc. still on
– On days that we bring Coco to stay over at my in-laws’, they loiter around the house until she wakes despite them risking being awfully late for work. And we go through a long series of farewells… and more farewells… and more farewells…
– My dad rushed to hire workers to construct a safety fence over the pond in preparation for Coco learning how to crawl.
– He then spent another weekend pumping out 10 years worth of mud from the pond and visiting a few fish farms to get new fish. All because my mum complained that her granddaughter – at the grand age of two months – was not able to see any fish in the pond.
3) Seeing my parents-in-law embrace grandparenthood
– My parents-in-law, upon finding themselves free on a weekday afternoon, chose to drive all the way to the east to visit their granddaughter instead of heading to town to shop.
– They took an insane number of photos and videos of Coco over the few days she stayed with them while Dan and I were in Krabi. And I was made to patiently watch video after video of my baby being bathed… even though I bathe her every morning too.
– One night as we were driving Coco over to the in-laws’, my mum-in-law texted “WE’RE HOME ALREADY. WAITING FOR COCO’S ARRIVAL” – even though they had just barely turned into the car park below their block.
– They happily posted a photo of Coco’s SECOND new stroller (which they bought) on Facebook and called it her new set of wheels. Two strollers for that one tiny bum!! So very blessed is she.
4) Seeing my aunt and uncle, who took care of me when I was little, laugh and play with Coco
Rating particularly high on the “awwwww” factor:
– My 72 year-old uncle will find a reason to come and see her every single day even when I don’t need him to bring lunch for me on certain days
– My 60+ year old aunt, instead of pooh-poohing me for being a Google mum and rearing a baby based on advice from cyberspace, embraces the information that I share with her from the Internet. In particular, the weekly e-newsletters I receive from parenting websites. She keeps asking me how my baby is going to behave this week according to the Internet!
– Seeing Coco dressed up in terribly mismatched outfits they buy her from pasar malam stalls but knowing that she’s snug and comfy in those soft baggy clothes.
– Sharing their excitement in hunting down and bringing her a retro wind-up spinning toy from the past and hearing them sing along to children’s classics like Ni Wa Wa and San Lun Che (also bought at the pasar malam)
5) Finding that immense satisfaction in finally nabbing that irritating booger hanging at the edge of the baby’s nostril so that she can breathe easier
This feels just as satisfying as getting out that elusive burp that will make her sleep better. Or hearing her rid wind by farting gloriously. Makes you want to pump your fist into the air and yell, “YEAH! THAT’S MY GIRL!”
6) Finally attaining those gorgeous baby boobies
I’ve come to realise that bigger boobs are highly overrated. They require a lot more… management. But hey, bra-shopping is now quite an ego-booster:
Sales Assistant: “What is your cup size?”
Me: “Can I try a ‘C’ please?”
Sales Assistant: *stares at my chest with X-ray vision and eyes narrow*
Me: *sheepishly* “Err…. maybe a B?”
Sales Assistant: *reaches out and CUPS HER HAND UNDER MY BUST (!!!!!) and squints some more* (It’s amazing how breasts become public property once you give birth. I don’t think I will EVER get used to random women like nurses and sales ladies touching my chest so nonchalantly as if they are browsing through items in a store) “Your cup quite big leh. I think….”
(Wait for it now, wait for it…..)
“you can wear an ‘E’.”
Me: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *eyeballs pop out so far that they could wear ‘E’ cups themselves!*
Okay, seriously, I have to say this for the record: This was a Korean brand of nursing bras so the sizes were substantially smaller (as said by the sales assistant okay, I’m not saying anything about Korean women and their chests here.)
7) Having my baby (FINALLY) sleep through the night
The definition of “sleeping through the night” is rather loose and liberal here. Anywhere from about 10pm to 6am or 7am is pretty good. I was reading a couple of parenting books before that, which said that IF I was doing everything correctly, my baby would be sleeping through the night by 9 or 10 weeks. Well, my baby WASN’T. Which naturally made me conclude that I WASN’T rearing her correctly. I must have have done something WRONG to inculcate the WRONG sleep habits.
I tried different tactics to try to get her to conform to what the other 9 and 10-week old babies should be doing by now. Such as a combination of cluster feeding and dream feeding, which only made it worse and she woke up more times than ever during the night. I forgot my own mantra that kept me going through the IVF period: One day at a time. One step at a time. Every step is progress made.
My mum came to the rescue. She said to give Coco time to slowly adjust and find her own sleep schedule. 9 weeks, in the grand scheme of things, was still VERY YOUNG. So we stuck to her 4-hourly Feed-Wake-Sleep routine and hey…
…one day it suddenly happened. She slept through the night. For a grand total of… 2 nights. I was gunning for 3 nights in a row because it apparently takes 3 days to build or break a habit.
But gradually, the middle-of-the-night feeds became just rocking. Rocking became just patting her in her cot. Patting became just popping the fallen pacifier back into her mouth. That’s how we made progress. One night at a time. We maintain flexibility over this waking thing. I still feed her if she seems genuinely hungry or thirsty. After all, I wake sometimes craving a glass of water or milk, so how can I expect less of my baby with her tiny tummy?
8. Seeing my baby grow
Really.Physically.GROW. Coco has doubled her birth weight in 3 months and is weighing in at a hefty little 6kg. I swear she grows overnight. On some mornings, her head seems bigger. On others, her body seems longer. Newborn clothing seems tiny. She’s moved on to M-sized diapers because her chubby thighs can no longer be encased comfortably in smaller sizes (poor baby, Mum and Dad take full blame for passing down those chunky little drumsticks, okay?)
It makes all the stress and time and effort invested in breastfeeding all worth it. Especially during a growth spurt when she literally sucks the life out of me and I feel physically drained and running on empty (no longer ‘E’ cups for sure!) ESPECIALLY when I’m convinced that I’ve gone off my rocker because I catch myself cheering my boobs on and lavishing praise on them during a pumping session in a desperate bid to ramp up supply (Please tell me I’m not crazy? Please?)
Not to put down the benefits of formula milk where breastfeeding is not able to take place, but it feels really good to know – and see – that the hard work that my body went through to produce all that milk has resulted in a beautiful healthy chubby baby. I did all THAT *beam*
9) Having my baby respond to and interact with her environment
Trying to interact with a newborn is like talking and dancing to a blank wall. Frankly, it’s a tiring and thankless one-sided effort on your part only.
UNTIL SHE REWARDS YOU WITH A SMILE. Followed by a gurgle. A coo. A laugh. A kick in the air. A punch at a toy. Her little hands exploring your face. And then you get addicted to doing anything and everything just to elicit a repeat performance.
Every day brings with it new developments, new achievements, new surprises and new rewards. This is probably one of the things I’ll miss most when I go back to work – being the first to witness and be part of the new things in her life every day.
10) Seeing my baby’s face light up with a megawatt smile
Because she’s amused by her squeaky panda toy. Because she’s having fun as people at home entertain her. Because she’s intrigued by how my brother’s shiny shaven head reflects the ceiling lights. Because she likes it when Dan talks to her.
But especially, ESPECIALLY when she hears my voice, turns towards me and breaks out into the loveliest, happiest little smile ever – because she recognises me as Mummy.
It makes everything worth it.
Happy Three Months Baby Girl!