Hello new and prospective parents! I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, "I want to do the very best for my baby!" Of course you do and that's why I have to give you some advice because sometimes doing the "very best" is actually the "very worst" thing to do. You see, I was once like you. I did all the right things and I have the pictures to prove it. My first child eating only tofu and veggies while all the children around him ate popsicles? Check.
The black and white board books? Check.
Talking to the baby all the time every day always and forever? Check.
Yes, I was just like you - passionate and committed and completely dedicated to the enrichment of my babies.
But here's what the experts don't tell you. Those babies? The ones that get the "very best" babyhood? They grow up to have incredibly high standards - standards that are more than a mere mortal can meet. So, please consider the following:
You wait to introduce solids and then do everything by the schedule recommended by your pediatrician. You brainwash your kid into thinking that fruit is a dessert.
One of two things will happen:
a. Your kid will hide under the couch eating Dum Dums like a wild-eyed troll and you will only discover this when you move the couch and find the wrappers.
b. Your kid will inform you that he will not eat school lunch because the meat is not free-range and the fruit and vegetables are overcooked and not even organic which means you will be packing lunches for the rest of your adult life.
Let them have some junk food once in awhile. Resist the urge to send cantaloupe to school as their birthday "treat." Also, do not make waffles from scratch. I repeat DO NOT. You will never be able to sneak an Eggo waffle past a kid who has grown up eating homemade. They will shun the Eggo and you will be the Prometheus of Waffles, forever chained to your waffle maker.
2. Free Time
You read to your baby many times a day. You shake those educational toys in your child's face as many times as she would tolerate. You sit and play My Little Pony for hours even though it makes you want to time travel to the past and kill the maker of My Little Pony so that you never become a Pony Parent. You play board games until the words "chutes" and "ladders" strike fear in your heart.
You know what happens when your kids get older, they will follow you around telling you that they're "bored" or "don't have anything to do" and ask 293 times per day if you will play with them. They will be your constant companion forever and ever. You and your child will put the "bro" as in Hasbro.
It's best to leave them alone. Give them a little space. Do not play Hide N Seek. Just play Hide.
You narrate life as soon as they place your bundle of joy in your arms. You tell them you are drinking coffee and driving the car and making dinner and shaving your arm pits. You talk to them from the time they woke up until you tuck them in bed at night, convinced that your kids will someday dazzle the world with their vocabulary.
And they will. They will talk to you all the time. Think you can escape the words by having some private time in the bathroom? Fool! There is no private time! Your children will sit outside the door talking to you, telling you the tiniest details about the dream they had about a monster made of olives, "And he bled pizza sauce all over the carpet and you were so mad and then the cat came and we had a tea party and you know what we had at the tea party? We had tea! Now, let me describe the color and consistency of every leaf that was in my dream tea cup!"
They will come into your room at night while you are sleeping and talk to you like you have been in your room just waiting for them. These children do not believe consciousness is required for a conversation. My son once woke me from a dead sleep at 2 a.m. when he walked into our room and said, "Well, I just finished reading Despereaux and here is the thing about that book..." Do you want pre-dawn book reviews? Do you? I don't think you do.
I hope you can see from these tips that setting the bar lower is the key to your survival as a parent. Because, you don't know this yet, but your survival is much more questionable than theirs. Obviously, they are sly and know how to get their needs met. Why else would I be rattling my waffle maker as I type this?