Our daughter turns one this month. In today’s spirit of celebrating not just the birthday but the birth-month, I celebrate her one year journey. Kids are amazing. They literary make you stop at life and seriously observe that fly making rounds in the house. Her growth has made me look into my own life and reflect on the following points:
#1. Growth is gradual: when she first came home, she barely saw anything beyond six inches. I remember our joy when she lifted her hands, lifted her head, her body and finally supporting herself with two feet. Every step led to the next.
Lesson: No need to beat yourself because you haven’t arrived where you are going. No need for shortcuts either. You will get there gradually before you know it.
#2. Growth is a result of practice. Once she was able to do one little thing, she kept at it until she perfected it. When she started making sounds, she never kept quiet. Before long, she had vowels and consonants. I meet people who are always amazed at how fast she has grown, but every day is a day of practice for her.
Lesson: Continuous efforts will result into a major growth over time. Practice your art.
#3. Growth is personal: parents especially moms have a way of comparing children’s growth. Sometimes it feels as though your baby is too slow. The good thing is that the baby does not (hopefully) experience this pressure. They grow at their own pace and finally get there under normal conditions.
Lesson: You need to focus on your personal growth at your own pace rather than feeling left out as a late bloomer.
#4. Growth could be a threat: I have observed her with children who are two years older. They see her as a threat and try fighting her no matter how hard she tries to befriend them. In turn, she bullies kids younger than her. Older children are more accommodating.
Lesson: People who are about the same level with you might not rejoice at your progress and your ideas because they feel threatened. People who have gone higher in their achievements are less threatened and are good at nurturing you.
#5. Growing into the big means growing out of the small: just before her birth, we had bought clothes and other items for a new-born. After a few months, she grew out of them and we needed to buy bigger ones. When she grew out of her small clothes, it also took us by surprise because it seemed too soon.
Lesson: Growing into good habits means growing out of bad ones. Gaining positive friends means losing negative ones. Keeping things you do not use is clutter. People may also not be ready for your growth but grow up anyway.
#6. Growth could be misunderstood: when she started cooing, we thought she had a throat problem. We waited for it to stop but she kept at it. When we searched the internet (thank God for it!), we learnt that it was a step into talking.
Lesson: People may not understand where you are at or where you’re going but keep at it! They will appreciate the end result.
#7. Growth takes a personal initiative: I was like every parent wanting their baby to achieve milestones quickly. When she started crawling backwards, I was there helping her crawl forward. This was a big frustration because she just couldn’t use my help. When she started crawling forward, she did it so easily and differently from how I was helping her.
Lesson: No matter how much people are willing to help, there are steps they cannot take for you. Sometimes growth is better coming from you.
#8. Growth requires excitement and curiosity: it’s amazing how excited kids are at life; they sometimes see sleep as an inconvenience. Our baby is no different; her curiosity keeps her trying to get to something she has never laid her hands on before. Immediately she picks up something, she is quick to taste it. When a new day dawns, she throws her blanket in anticipation to what she’s about to experience that day.
Lesson: Stay curious at things and learn new things continually. This keeps you happy and excited about life generally.
Each baby is an individual; so are you!