Ok...so...about my parenting style...
I'm in many ways an overzealous mother. When Sam and I go to the park, I'm the first one down the slide. I devote almost every waking moment to his happiness and general well-being. I bake him cookies sweetened with organic sweet potatoes. I enthusiastically sing and dance to Veggie Tales songs and encourage him to express himself constantly. I ask him how he feels about things, a question usually answered with a blank stare and a cold shoulder. He's such a boy. I keep trying to talk about emotions with him, and he just walks away from me. "Give it a good cry, boy! You'll feel better!" I tell him, but he picks himself up, shakes it off, and moves on. I'm so careful not to steer him toward gender-specific toys. I gave him a doll for Christmas, and he has passed many happy moments gouging its eyes with his chubby baby fingers. He's drawn inexplicably to trains, cars, airplanes, and dump trucks. He likes to throw balls and make noise. He's just such a...BOY. It's completely fascinating. I realize, of course, it's only fascinating to me that Sam seems to be- huge wake-up call- his own person, so...moving on...
In other ways, I'm really slack as a parent. Here's my big confession: I have baby-proofed exactly one cabinet in my home. One. And I didn't even actually do it. I supervised Husband doing it while I was about eight months pregnant. He put one latch on one cabinet, and then we both got bored and quit. So I guess, now that Sam's mobile, I'll have to...you know...watch him...to keep him from drinking bleach. That's what I just don't get. I mean, aren't you going to be with your child in the kitchen? So you could, concievably, I don't know, stop him? From drinking bleach? I'm just saying...I mean...that's just my, like, opinion...and stuff. I'm by no means a parenting expert. I'm kind of just making stuff up as I go along. Also, am I the only person who thinks those outlet pluggy things that are supposed to keep your baby from getting electrocuted are the most useless invention ever? Because the first thing Sam did when he saw one (at a friend's house, since I'm too slack to put them in my outlets) was pry it loose and try to put it in his mouth. He figures out how to unlatch baby gates, so I'm not going to bother putting any up. I'm not as slack as to not, say, put him in a carseat (I'm obsessive about auto safety, ironically enough) but what, I ask you, is the point of a bathtub thermometer? Isn't that what, you know, your HAND is for?? I feel the baby-proofing industry preys upon the insecurities of new parents, of grandparents, and nurseries, and try to make moms like me feel like huge slackers for not using these "necessities." No, I'm not going to let my child wander out into the street, but I'm not going to put of a driveway gate, either. I call my renegade childproofing technique "keeping an eye on the baby." It's working out for me so far.
What does make me feel like an Alpha Mom, though, is that we've been doing some sign language with Sam at the suggestion (and instruction) of Mama N. It's really helping, since Sam isn't (surprisingly) a big talker. He knows the signs for please, thank you, more, cracker, Mama, and water. That's enough to get by, right? Cracker was the first sign he learned, and that kid must have eaten an entire sleeve of Ritz that day. The first time he made the sign for "more" was when our dear friend Cheryl kissed him, then walked away. He watched her leave, and plaintively signed "more." Precious, right?
He flat-out refuses to make animal noises, which I don't totally disagree with. What does the piggy say? Who cares?
He took his first steps on Saturday. It was later than most kids walk, sure, but he was such an efficient crawler it didn't seem to matter to him. Husband and I were sitting in the living room, talking about basketball (bizarre in itself, as I know nothing about the subject and Husband is a wealth of information on all things athletic) and we looked over and Sam was walking toward the cat. (Luckily, it was the nice one, who loves Sam. He's dumber than a sack of hammers, but beautiful, and very sweet. I know people like that, too...) That's just Sam, though. I went through my entire pregnacy frustrated because nothing was progressing the way the books said it would. I was supposed to be over my "morning sickness" (the term is a lie in itself, as I threw up all freaking day long) after the first trimester, when I, in fact, threw up every single day of my pregnancy, stopping only on the delivery table. I was supposed to give birth in a dimly lit room, surrounded by whale sounds, with my husband coaching me and a soothing picture from home to focus on as I breathed through contractions. Instead, I had a c-section at 39 weeks, never had a contraction, and Christmas carols were being piped in to the cold, flourescent-lit operating room. Sam has never done anything according to anyone else's timetable. He's just his own little planet, orbiting his bewildered parents, doing great things in his own, quirky way. And the only thing we can do is follow his lead.
It's only natural, though, I suppose. His parents aren't exactly orthodox. I don't wear the mom uniform. We have a "schedule" but it's not like anything other babies are on. We sing more show tunes than lullabies. We dance to Flogging Molly and The Ramones instead of Wheels on the Bus. Sure, he's not like other kids. But I'm pretty thrilled with who he has turned out to be.