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Parenthood - A Seven-Act Play

Aug 26, 2008
Stage 1: The Desire and the Longing

The first stage of parenthood begins when the desire for having a baby is born in the heart of one or both the parents. In most cases, it is the woman whose maternal instinct begins to assert itself. Women don't feel complete until they become mothers. So, when the biological clock starts ticking, you decide to take the step of 'making babies.'

Phase 2: Heavy with Child

The missed period - am I, aren't I? Soon confirmed by the morning trips to the bathroom to meet with you new acquaintances Ralph and Huey. But it is all worth it when you feel that first flutter - was that a kick? Was that his, you-know, on the ultrasound?

A few months later and you know all about those kicks - and the elbows. Plus backache, piles, swollen ankles, varicose veins - who was responsible for getting you into this state????

Wow - was that you swearing like a trouper? Puff puff, pant pant, "you *****ing *****, I'm never **** going to **** with you again! Oh, Oh, Oh, Ah... isn't she sweet? let's see. ten fingers, ten toes, Oh she's just perfect, isn't she, darling?"

Stage 3: The Novelty of Everything

You go through an entirely new experience when you bring the baby home. The first few days/weeks are marked by sleepless nights, sore nipples, running around to get things done and dieting to lose all those extra pounds.

Every step in development is an occasion for celebration - the first time she sat, crawled, stood up and took a few steps all on her own! Even the first potty and first solid food or the first tantrum is a major event in your world that revolves around her.

Nursery rhymes and pat-a-cake - crucial for child development but, all too often these days, delegated to the TV.

And suddenly it's time for the first play school. You send your child nicely scrubbed and dressed to school with mixed feelings - happy and worried.

Act 4: Play, School and Parties

Then your cuddly baby gets busy with friends in the school. What the teacher and friends say is gospel truth.

You may not find her jokes very funny.

You see them find their first best friend, and you are there for them when the first rejection happens. You encourage them to play in spite of the scraped knees and you listen to their unfair complaints of the other not being fair.

You learn to let them go even though it is difficult - but you can't protect them from everything.

Act 5: The Three R's

The next stage is marked by learning the skills to read and write and to add up numbers. Some kids sail through it easily, while others have to struggle hard to learn. You begin to notice individual differences among kids. For some parents this stage is long and arduous while others find it exciting and enjoyable.

Even so, there are always the little events to remember - All she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth (along with Barbie and a puppy dog!)

Time too for rules and chores, they're not your little babies anymore!

Phase 6 - Pre-teens and Puberty

Girls will be girls and boys will be boys - and never the two shall mix. Well, why would they? The girls are all into pink and giggle too much - and the boys are just too cool for such silliness.

However, don't dictate your preferences in clothes to them. They think you are out of date and they know what's in fashion.

language is cool too.

You help your little girl try on her first bra, and handle her first period. You allow her to choose her lipstick and do her make up. You help your son go through the stage of awkward limbs and a squeaky voice that breaks. You help him choose the anti-perspirant and shaving kit.

Act 7 - Adult and Grown Up

Suddenly boys and girls are not so alien after all. Does (s)he fancy me?

Suddenly too, your precious child, whom you taught everything, knows more than you. In fact, you apparently, know nothing, and they knows everything!

It's friends who matter and your relevance takes the back seat. There will be conflict of opinion; don't lose your cool. And, above all, don't recount what you've done for her. Be patient and pleasant. Be firm but try and understand her point of view and help her deal with peer pressure.

Yet, if you are accommodating, you can have an amazing conversation with your new young adult. It is very essential if you want to make sure they don't go overboard in following their peers. But, be careful; don't even try to lecture them or you will lose their attention.

Then, as suddenly as it had come, the period of turbulent adolescence is over. There is calm after the storm. You meet your young adult, a complete human being full of dreams and ideals but a bit short on confidence and wisdom.

Epilogue: Go, Went, Gone

All these years of parenthood had become a habit. You went through each phase happily and not-so-happily, but your life revolved around them. Then, one day, they're gone! But, you still worry and hope for them.

You repeat the words Robert Munsch said, "I'll love you, forever. I'll like you, for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

Time flies. Live every moment as though it is the only one. Enjoy your baby all along the way.
About the Author
Dr. Noel Swanson offers free expert parenting tips on his website - you will also find a free chapter to his highly acclaimed book, the GOOD CHILD Guide. You can also meet with other parents on a parenting forum.
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