THE FIRST BORN
It’s should come as no surprise to anyone that the first-born child is always the “test child” of any parent. This was true of my first-born as well. She is the child that suffered as I was trying out all the “new and improved” parenting skills I read about and all the “old sage advise” I got from everyone I ran into, including those that had never been parents.
I was a mother obsessed with having a perfect child almost as much as I was obsessed with the idea that she would just stop breathing in the middle of the night. Both of these obsessions lead to little or no sleep which just compounded the problem.
Every bump was a major medical emergency and god help her if there was blood involved. I think I kept the “band-aid” company in business for the first 5 years of her life. I stressed over every detail of her life. I worried about what she ate, and I worried about what she didn’t eat. I worried about if she slept and I worried if she didn’t sleep. If I could have wrapped her in a plastic bubble and kept her there I might have, but then I would have worried she would suffocate!
All this wasn’t enough either it seemed. I was gifted with a “smart” child as well. This meant that I had the added challenge of trying to stay one step ahead of her most of the time. She did everything earlier than she was supposed to. Crawling, standing walking and talking seemed to be minor obstacles in her life and major ones in mine. Ok so maybe I was to blame for some of it but I was so amazed with her that I couldn’t help but encourage her every chance I got.
The toddler years were anything but easy. By this time she could count, knew her colors and I swear spell because I soon found that even spelling out words like cookie, ride and bedtime grabbed her attention and usually brought about the right response. I should have guessed I would have my hands full when her first word was “mine”. Not the traditional Mama or Dada it was MINE MINE MINE…and sadly most of the time it ended up being just that….hers.
But don’t get me wrong here, she was a wonderful first child and thankfully I didn’t screw her up to much. She was always happy, full of life and everyone that met her was just enamored with her. They couldn’t believe how pretty or smart she was…now that I think about it maybe that was a backwards insult to me… and that made me beam with pride. I could take her anywhere because she never acted up. Even in the most trying of places like restaurants she was always a “good girl”.
Maybe I was doing it right after all? But then maybe she was just priming me for what was to come. By 5 she had a little sister, and while she was still the “test child” she now had the means to “test” back…and boy oh boy did she!
Copyright 2010 Theresa Allen