When I first became a mother, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. I had this tiny little human who was both a stranger and the love of my life. I was smitten by her, but scared out of my mind that I would fail at this whole motherhood thing. I knew this little life lying in my arms depended on me for her very survival. My body, which carried her for 39 months, was still her source of nutrition and provision.
I worried a lot in those early days of motherhood. Was she hungry? Was she getting enough to eat? Was she wet? Was she peeing enough? Did she have a dirty diaper? Were her poops normal? Was she gaining enough weight? Was she sick? Would I know if she was sick? So many what ifs went through my mind in those early sleep-deprived days.
Even though women have produced, cared for, and successfully raised children since the beginning of time, I felt completely clueless.
Luckily, my own mother was there to help take the reigns. She stayed with us for the first two weeks of Avery’s life. Every time I had a question or concern, her answer was the same: “You’ll learn.”
Ten months later, I am a lot less anxious. I feel like I know Avery very well. Even though she can’t really talk yet, I know when she isn’t feeling good, I know what time of day she typically poops, and I know the face she makes when she poops. I guess you can say I learned as I went.
Life, as with motherhood, is a constant learning experience. That’s one of the things I love most about being a parent. I’m always learning new things along the way by watching my daughter learn things for the very first time.
Young children are like sponges. They absorb so much of what they see, hear and do. And everything is fascinating to them. It’s beautiful, really, to watch a child see something for the first time. They learn as they go.
That’s one of the reasons we love to travel with our daughter. By doing so, we are exposing her to different foods, cultures, languages, and geography. When we went to Canada in Fall 2015, she was fascinated by the changing colors of the leaves. She observes and takes in everything, so even though she is too young to talk or understand a lot, she is learning through experience. As she gets older, our travels will be a way of continuing her education, and we will discuss things that we see. But for now, we take time to show her everything… no matter how insignificant it might seem to us, as adults. To her even the leaves and the flowers are magic.