Yesterday I was at the end of my rope, in a multitude of ways. Baby Girl had woken up numerous times during the night and topped it off with a 3 hour awake stretch at 4am. All morning long, she and I were spilling things, knocking into stuff, and both cranky out of our gourds.
I was nearly in tears.
This was just not how I pictured parenthood. When I was pregnant, I read many Montessori books and felt that incorporating that style would be most natural for me. But 14 months in, and I'm really not sure what the heck I'm doing. Am I practicing Attachment Parenting? Not totally. Am I following the Montessori method? Not completely either. Am I really not sure what I'm doing? The answer to the last question is a resounding yes. I've read so many parenting books from such a variety of authors that it is really quite a sickness at this point, the obsessive need to study how others recommend parenting. Top that off with the internet, and I sometimes forget that I really do know my child best above others.
So I cleaned both of us up as best as I could and drove to a local independent toy store called Learning Tree Toys OKC. The owner is a former Montessori teacher and a grandma, to boot. I went in looking for toys for BG and left with some sage parenting advice.
I could bore you with the details of what we discussed. But I won't. The one thing that resonated most with me was:
Follow the Child.
Simple as that. Parenting decisions are pretty easy if you carefully observe your little one and anticipate their needs, while respecting the little individuals they are becoming. The parent is the first teacher, and the goal is to know your child so well that parenting and teaching naturally follow. I know in my heart that not only do I know my little girl, inside and out, but that my husband and I really are the ones who know how to parent her best.
I walked out of her store feeling much better prepared to tackle this new stage in our parenting relationship and left with not only a few new toys for BG, but a new mantra and a developing sense of calm. 14 months in, and I'm still learning.
What's the best parenting advice you've ever heard?