One of my favorite things about parenting is seeing my son grow, change, and develop right before my eyes. He's nearly 3, so a regular day with him includes at least five to seven mind-blowing moments where he'll surprise me with a new word, offer me a sweet gesture, or show off a new facial expression. I'm enjoying this current stage, but I'm excited for the ones ahead of us, too. I've felt that excitement since he arrived, actually, and there were a number of things I couldn't wait to teach my baby after he was born.
That's not to say that I haven't enjoyed his other stages, too, or have failed to live in the moment and appreciate every single milestone as they happen. I loved swaddling him so he looked like a tiny caterpillar, and reclining with my knees up so he could sit on my stomach and lean against my legs. I loved some of those thrilling firsts, like first steps, first words, and his first smile.
Still, as a former camp counselor, I like being excited for the sake of being excited, and I just love thinking about the fun things that are ahead of us. It's always been that way, and here's what that looked like when he was a baby:
Teaching Him About The Best Books And Movies
Although, this is a little tricky considering how babies aren’t born knowing how to read or comprehend feature-length programming. Still, I’m up for the challenge, and I take the responsibility seriously. It’s only a matter of time before we start working on my kid's Harry Potter vocabulary, and memorizing Dirty Dancing quotes.
Teaching Him The Word "Mama..."
This one’s a little obvious, I can admit it. However, obvious or not it still deserves a mention. Pretty much, from the early days of gurgles and snorts and coos, I was daydreaming about what it’d be like to hear my son form actually syllables, and for those syllables to mean something.
...Followed By, "You’re The Best And I’m The Luckiest Kid In The World To Have You”
I mean, as I mentioned, my son’s not even 3, so we’re still working on this one. I can be patient, though. Plus, he’s thrown me a few bones in the meantime. In fact, just the other day, he told me I make him happy, followed immediately by the robust proclamation that syrup is sticky, so the moment was short-lived, albeit beautiful. Still, I'm not complaining.
Teaching Him How To Latch
Let’s get technical, shall we? I didn’t know what I didn’t know about this one until we were in the middle of it. Many of the biggest challenges of my baby’s early weeks would have been solved if we could have just gotten him to properly latch. Thank goodness for breast pumps and lactation consultants and bottles, but I would have thrown them all out the window for a latch (except the lactation consultant, obviously).
Teaching Him How To Properly Prepare My Favorite Breakfast
Kidding, I’m just kidding! I’ll settle for getting my coffee preferences correct, then we’ll talk about food.
Teaching Him The Historical Relevance Of '90s Pop Music Icons
If he can’t tell a Backstreet Boys song from an NSYNC song, or Britney from Christina, before the age of 4, I’ve failed as a mother.
Teaching Him The Choreography To Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” Music Video
I've been meaning to call around to the toddler gyms and the dance studios in my area to see if any of them offer this kind of class. However, I have a feeling I might be on my own here. No matter, it'll be great bonding experience for the both of us. His dad just taught him jumping jacks a few weeks ago, so we're totally on the way already.
Teaching Him A Healthy And Respectful Attitude Toward Technology, Food, And People Who Are Different Than Him
I mean, that's not too much to ask, is it? I was also going to include all things Calvin and Hobbes, and fluffy rabbits, but I didn't want it to become too tall an order, so I left it at just the most important ones. Seriously though, if his dad and I manage to instill these traits in him, I'll feel like I've done something right.
Teaching Him That He’s Free To Be Himself And His Dad And I Will Always Love And Support Him
Unless, of course, he rejects those efforts to introduce Calvin and Hobbes, Harry Potter, and Dirty Dancing. Then, all best are off.
Teaching Him How To Use His Imagination
If the fact that he likes to hunt for invisible purple octopi in our living room is any indication, we're off to a good start here. If only we can keep it up until he discovers girls (or boys, either way).
Teaching Him How To Sleep Through The Night
We're still working on this one, actually. Now that my son is officially in a "big boy bed," he can freely leave it whenever his heart so desires (thank goodness for baby gates). However, back when he was a newborn, I was settling for bouts of rest longer than three hours at a time, so I know I shouldn't be complaining. I suppose they call it sleep training for a reason.