Way, way, way back when Maverick was born, I was struck by how "unprepared" I was for a relationship with a new human. (albeit a funny looking alien-like human...oh how I love this kid.)
I knew how to care for my baby. How to feed him, change his diapers, bathe him, dress him...how to be his caretaker. It was only after I got him home and that first few weeks of baby fog started to finally lift (hallelujah!!!) into the realization that other than the basics, I was not sure how to entertain my precious baby. How to stimulate him. How to "play" with my baby. I was a bit ahead of the game, because I believed that "play" was possible...even in the earliest days, but I was at a bit of a loss for the "how". That fleeting thought troubled me more than once in those early weeks but the blur that is a newborn prevented me from really examining that concern.
And then at 8 weeks we started OTB.
I learned how a simple balloon can keep a newborn entertained for 30 minutes and how simple common household and inexpensive items could transform our time together... how my babe and I got to know each other - how to regulate his reactions and how to get him used to a world that can be an onslaught of stimulus. OTB set me on a course to let my children explore their world and taught me how to help them get the most out of these activities without getting in their way. OTB taught me how to play with my baby so we both have fun. And that ingesting a little paint won't hurt anyone...and that they will learn it does not taste so good.
The classes were fun and informative, filled with fascinating tidbits of child development facts and other snippets of parenting wisdom, which I loved as I long ago ditched my copy of "What to Expect, The First Year". These classes became the highlight of our week as we were privileged to host them every Friday for nearly 2 years with a wonderful group of mommies and babies that were looking to find their way like me.
Now, 2 years later, Radley has joined our family and OTB and OTB now has an established "center" where they host their classes. But throughout these changes, OTB remains a place both of my boys love to play. When I tell them it is time to go to "the Center" they run to the front door, ready for whatever adventure awaits them when they get there.
They love going to their weekly classes and telling me of all the fun and stimulating activities they get to experience. Truth be told, I am always having as much fun as they are on the days that I get to go too. And as these are two of the coolest kids on the planet, I have to believe that all that exposure and stimulation aided in that somewhat in making them the remarkable humans that I think they are.
Currently, I would define my parenting style as driven primarily by instinct wrapped up in an unending fierce supply of unconditional love. Am I always right? No-way, as Mack would say. But it mostly feels right for us. And when it doesn't, I change. I am the grown up after all. I do love these babes fiercely and everything I do is with their best interest first and foremost above anyone and anything else. I am quick to apologize and listen to their needs as best they can express them. And at OTB, their teachings and my philosophy just fit and helped me be more of what I knew I wanted to be. They love my babies and my babes love them. The beautiful people there have taught me so many new things and given my babies a place to feel safe and explore in a supportive environment. They are always so excited on our way home telling me of what they found "fun, mama!" We love our days at "The Center"!
See ya there!!!
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