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Thursday, December 27, 2007

New-Born Baby

1999 Februay 22, my baby was born! The first 3 months was more a learning phase than a teaching phase. I learned how to take care of my child's needs, mainly in feeding him, cleaning him, carrying him etc.

I came from a small family and had no prior experience whatsoever in handling babies, or see how other people take care of babies. Thus it was a challenging time for me. The first few times that I cleaned him on my own, I even had to put him beside a big book of instructions & followed each step closely in case I forgot: wipe the eyes, the mouth, the bottom....etc. I even had to consult my book on how to pick up & put down my baby, haha!

The first lessons I learned were to love my child unconditionally & accept him as he is. The perfectionist in me had unknowingly wished for a perfect motherhood & a perfect child. So when I encountered problems with breastfeeding, and when he was diagnosed with urine tract infection, it was a traumatic experience for me. Especially when it's unlike other endeavours, example baking a cake, as I could not start all over again to get the "perfect" result!

Those first months of his life were spent on teaching him to
- recognize day from night, by playing more actively during daytime and toning down & speaking quietly during his night feeds or diaper change
- enjoy rhythm of chinese Tang & Song dynasty poems (唐诗宋词)
- enjoy music & songs & nursery rhymes (by singing to him, NOT by using TV or VCD or DVD)
- be familiarized with our language & his surroundings by speaking to him about *everything*, from what we were doing to where we were going to who we were meeting etc
- stay calm by providing a loving environment: he never hears arguments between his parents (I'm not saying we have heated arguments behind his back, haha, I'm saying we settle any disputes amicably and try not to show any disagreements in front of him, as he's still too young)
- trust his parents to love him & take care of him by carrying him as much as possible while he's awake

Some people might think the last point is objectionable. But this was my way of communicating to my baby that he is safe & loved. Of course I didn't carry him *all* the time, he was given time to entertain himself in his cot by looking at mobiles etc, and he was allowed time to stretch & exercise his limbs. But I do pay as much attention to him as possible when he's awake. (Anyway he was sleeping most of the time during those first few months.) However, when we went out, I always preferred to carry him rather than put him in a stroller. It builded a kind of "closeness" between us. The by-product? I got nice bicep muscles :-)

By the way, it didn't matter that he didn't understand any of the above-mentioned things that I was "teaching" him. I only did all those because I thought that's the best I could do for him. In essence, he's still too young at this stage to "understand" anything except "feelings". So the ultimate goal in whatever I did was to instill in him a sense of love, security, happiness & serenity.

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