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One of the things I most enjoy about Facebook is scrolling through the milestones of friends’ lives each morning. There are marriages and engagements, graduations and holiday celebrations, birthdays and new homes. Recently, several couples I know became parents for the first time. And so joining the parade was the mad array of new baby pictures featuring the proud parents showing off baby’s firsts. You know: First smile, first giggle, first words, first steps. Having a baby represents a rebirth of sorts for us too, as we accept the invitation to experience the world anew.
It’s also interesting to notice the discoveries parents make as their world expands from two to three. It’s a big adjustment, learning to manage a little one so reliant on you. Babies need your attention 24/7. And they require us to be prepared for all the unpredicatable problems that can arise.
It’s thrilling and draining, all at once.
In order to be prepared for the unpredicatable, babies require planning — lots and lots of planning. You quickly realize that the run to Kroger you used to make for groceries isn’t quite so easy any more, right? You’ve got to make sure your diaper bag is fully stocked and that you’ve got something for baby to nosh on or a wrap for yourself, should you need to feed on location. And before you leave the house, you’ve got to make sure baby has napped, eaten, pooped, and had tummy time, or that sweet little thing will produce the biggest mess you’ve ever seen. Trust me, it happens.
When it did, I was with “that” girlfriend (you know, the one who is always prepared for potential calamity) and thank god for it. I’d taken my son on an afternoon play date and had failed to pack an extra set of clothes. Naturally, word got back to my son. He saw his opening and made a run for it, releasing the biggest, messiest bomb a child of 30 pounds could muster. It was quite impressive, really. Needless to say, the few extra diapers and wipes I had brought were quickly depleted trying to clean up the mess that had managed to creep up both his front and his back.
As I could have predicted, my girlfriend was at the ready with an extra set of clothes she was kind enough to share with my now cleaned up kid. I ushered up a prayer of thanks that her son had turned his nose up at participating in the bomb drop. Lord only knows why. I guess he’d pooped the proper number of times at home, thus preventing any surprises in the field. How this happened I I’ll never know because predicting a child’s behavior is simply crazy talk. But I can promise you, I never left the house again without an extra set of clothes.
I think that’s what becoming a parent does for you; it forces you to think beyond your own needs and to consider someone else’s welfare, too. Much of parenting is a lesson in risk management, anticipating what could happen in a situation and responding accordingly. That’s why you baby-proof your home, to make sure ,when your adventurous toddler is finally walking, that he doesn’t pick up a fork and insert it into your bedroom outlet.
Planning ahead and gathering the resources that help your family reach their goals is a task we do every day. Whether it is going shopping for groceries or to Target for yoga pants, you’ll want to pick up our magazine along the way to help you plan each month. Our annual Family Survival Guide is a great issue to have on-hand, now and throughout the year. Inside you’ll find useful listings that cover everything from schools and social service agencies to fun things to do with your kids every day of the year. You’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way. And it won’t be anywhere near as messy, I promise.