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Knowing a Whole Lot About Nothing and Pulling It Off

by Gini Cunningham

posted in Home and Family

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My granddaughter was just born to my daughter and her husband. As new parents, I find them quite funny. They have read and watched videos, discussed and gone to birth and parenting classes. They have learned tips, tried their own techniques, and realized that having a new baby in the home changes things quite a bit. Actually, I guess I should say enormously, what with getting the former dog queen to accept the competition, adjusting to sleep pattern interruptions, attending to dirty diapers and unremitting puke, and still taking care of all of the requirements of living like shopping, cooking, laundry, and housework. They are doing well and so is my beautiful granddaughter.
I believe that all of the aforementioned research and study is wonderful, but I also remind them that some things just happen and that they will take care of them in a fashion that fits the moment and the event as they arise. After all, we can discuss the first trip out with minute detail, but the actual outing may play out differently, just as it will every ensuing time. No matter how many clean clothes and diapers are packed, parents always need more, none at all, or they have carried the perfect amount but in the wrong size. Sometimes the baby sleeps through the entire meal or shopping spree, while the next time she cries from the moment her car seat is snapped into the car. Today she smiles and coos at each passerby; tomorrow she appears to hate the world. A baby is a baby, after all, and she reacts accordingly.
Last evening friends dropped by with their baby who is four months old. They brought dinner - fantastic for new parents, a load of outgrown clothes, and snippets of advice. This advice was gently presented like traveling, getting into a routine, scheduling trips to the store, and so forth. Again it was all very helpful. The entire first few months of parenting were clear in their minds as they had just lived them. However, as they planned to leave they delivered a final, "Call on us with questions any time!" and then a pause as they added, "We really know a whole lot about nothing but we're pulling it off." I found this to be the best tip ever.
People are brimming with insight and instruction and much of it is marvelous, but much of parenting just comes from instinct and the surroundings and events of the moment. That adds to the challenge as well as the adventure of raising children. Right when you think this will happen, something else intervenes. All babies are unique and special, just as their parents are. How or why would anyone expect anything less than daily escapades of indescribable thrills? And when parents are filled with love, care, and determination everything works out, even though this may not be according to the book. I wonder who wrote the "book" and what was his/her expertise and experience anyway. Often these prognosticators are wise but inexperienced, well schooled but lacking reality, forecasters for indeterminate outcomes. The laws of probability are undoubtedly more helpful than the surreal, nebulous "book" rules of raising children.
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