Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Just Waits or Can't Waits

Just a heads up, this post may be a little, erm, sentimental.  Proceed at your own risk.

A couple of months ago, not long before Jack was born, I came across this op ed (yes, I read BlogHer.  Judge not).  The piece talks about "Just Waits" and "Can't Waits" and how useless those phrases are.

I have to say, I completely agree.  I've always been bugged when people give me parenting advice that starts with "Just wait."  "Just wait until Jack starts this then he will x, y, and z."  Yeah, maybe.  And maybe not.  Maybe Jack will terrorize my house when he starts walking.  Maybe he will yank all my clothes off their hangers.  Maybe he will put his sticky hands all over my sewing machine.  And maybe he won't.  Either way, it will be fine and I'll figure it out and deal with it as best as I can.  If all the Just Waits I've heard actually come to pass, I will believe my son is possessed.

Point is, I don't mind parenting advice - heaven knows I need it.  I do mind Just Waits.

But it's the second half of her article that really touched me in my heart.  Enough so that I shared it with Lewis and we have made an effort to kick unproductive Can't Waits to the curb.  If all we do is look forward to when Jack can crawl or when Jack can feed himself or when Jack can do any number of things that he can't do right now, we're going to miss out on Jack and how great he is right now.

An example: Jack is a fussy baby.  He's got reflux and likes to spend the hours of 6-8 in the PM screaming.  Lately that period is closer to 5-9 PM with some minimal breaks in between, usually just when he is eating. It can be very trying.

Lewis sets a good example for pleasantness.  Jack doesn't care.
With these evenings spent trying to console an inconsolable infant it would be really easy for us to say, "I can't wait until he's past this fussy period."  But we're not going to do that.  Know why?  Because of all the other precious little things that happen during this same period.  Like Jack wanting to be cuddled and held.  Or the cute little awkward smiles he gives when he wakes up in the morning because he's still trying to figure out how to control all his muscles.  Or watching him concentrate SO HARD on getting his fist in his mouth only to miss and punch himself in the face.  And when Jack moves out of this fussy period, which I know will happen soon, he won't have those things.  He'll be more alert and curious about stuff other than us.  He won't have any difficulty smiling.  He'll know how to put his fist directly in his mouth.  And those things will be darling too.  And I plan to enjoy them when they happen.  But for now, I'm enjoying what he's doing now.

Even when I was in the last few weeks of my pregnancy and I was uncomfortable and humongous, Lewis wouldn't let me Can't Wait my way out of it.  Those were the last few weeks we had as just us, no baby to take care of.  If I spent all my time dwelling on the Can't Waits (which I may have done more than I should have), I would miss out on enjoying my last little bit of time with just Lewis.

Now I know what you're thinking.  This is a little extreme.  And you're probably right.  There's nothing wrong with a Can't Wait here and there.  Can't Waits are a natural thing to think and say.  And I will often think Can't Wait in my head - but when I do, I will stop and remember all the things that I am enjoying now.  It's helped me to appreciate my little baby and all that he is capable of each new day so much more.  Because oh my heck.  He's changing so quickly.  Am I excited for him to be able to do all these new things?  Sure.  Can I wait?  Absolutely.

How could you not enjoy this?
If you look in the article, there are a few acceptable Just Waits and Can't Waits, while still retaining this mindset of relishing in the preciousness of each moment with your child.  I won't rehash them all for you.  Suffice it to say that right now, I can't wait for Jack to wake up.

1 comment:

Aaron and Hannah Kam Family said...

You're cute and I love your attitude! You are one good Mommy! And I love his smile!

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