I guess I have to be the first to admit that I am not an expert at parenting. In fact, I am the opposite. Nora is our first, and doesn't everyone say you make all your worst mistakes with your first child?
But somehow I don't think we are doing to badly so far. I honestly can't think of too much I would change. Okay- so that one time I didn't put my fingers between her and the diaper pin...I would change that. That was a bad bad night.
Even the _way_ she was born (in a hospital with induced labor) I wouldn't change. I was the one that made the decision to induce labor since I was barely even having Braxton Hicks contractions 8 hours (and counting) after my water had broken.
During labor, Nora's heartbeat started to crash and we needed an injection of epinephrine to revive her. I, the woman who is phobic about needles, was ecstatic to see the epidural guy. He's my best friend, okay so I wouldn't know him from Joe Smith if I met him on the street, but he's my best friend.
Then once she was home we had a bassinet in our bedroom and we co-slept a little bit. She spent a lot of time in my arms until she became "aware" of the world, at which point she spent a lot of time on the floor or in her swing. The swing has got to be one of my favorite baby items. I highly recommend one for all new parents. We also made frequent use of front carriers and slings. Some days the only way to get Nora to sleep was to nurse her in the Snugli pack and then very very carefully go and lay her down in the swing/bassinet/ or crib.
Nora did get used to a bottle at about a month old since I had to return to work outside of the home briefly. I pumped a lot, but I wish I had pumped more when I was engorged. Note to self: If you want to donate breast milk (as I had wanted to do) pump during those horrible days of engorgement as much as you can. Without having of pumped during those critical days my milk supply was only ever slightly more than what Nora needed. I think the highest milk reserve we ever had in the freezer was 108 ounces. And you would be surprised how fast you can burn through that much breast milk.
But I am so very happy that I was able to pump. Doug was able to take care of her on the nights when I just really needed that extra sleep, as well as we were able to let a friend watch her when we both had to work. It also was super sweet to be able to let parents, grandparents, and adopted grandparents feed her. Those are memories that I will always treasure.
I know I have mentioned it before, but cloth diapering has been a huge economic boon to us, as well as making me feel better about our impact on the environment. Doug even tries to convert new parents to cloth diapering now too! And Doug is very much the easy route guy. Which isn't a complaint or a put down, it's just his personality. We love cloth diapering and how easy it is for us. We constantly have friends exclaim when they see us diapering Nora "Wow! That looked easy/fast!"
The biggest thing we are working on right now is "No!" She knows what it means, but doesn't always follow through. She especially likes to bite toes. And those little teeth hurt! We are in the stage right now where we are labeling everything for her. "That's the table" etc. I guess around 10 months is when the language area of the brain really starts absorbing word and syntax.
Doug and I work really hard not to have pet names for things. We do say "Binky" instead of "Pacifier" though. But we don't say "BaBa" instead of "Bottle". That is another recommendation that I have read is that speaking in full sentences around babies is helpful as well.
I feel bad because I haven't started to put her scrap book together yet. Luckily I have shared every milestone with the ladies over at www.maryjanesfarm.org/snitz so all I have to do is go and look at my posts about Nora for the last year to make up the memory book! lol
I think the best thing that both Doug and I have done is-read. We read all the time about babies and development. But mostly we let Nora explore her own world at her own pace. It is so amazing what she finds entertaining.
For example, today I had carelessly left the cabinet door to the rags open as I washed dishes in the kitchen. Nora came along and proceeded to pull about half of the clean rags out onto the floor one by one. This made her really happy and it delighted her to watch the rag fall open as she pulled it out. Who could deny such simple and innocent fun? And it also helps her learn about cause and effect.
Well more parenting musings another day perhaps. I am sure Doug and I mortify some people with our parenting styles, but it seems to work for us and for Nora as well. And I will leave you with a cute picture that Nora took of herself (with minimal help from Mommy)