I am constantly told that I am so lucky. Lucky for having such a good baby. Lucky that she never cries. Lucky that she communicates so well. Lucky that she is so eats so well. Excuse me, but luck has nothing to do with it!
She rarely cries in public because I do my darn best to prevent it: I feed her when she says she’s hungry, I give her a drink when she says she’s thirsty, I change her diaper as soon as she poops, and I bring her home in time for her nap so she doesn’t get cranky. I do that. Me. The parent. It’s not because I am lucky, but rather because I put in the hard work to keep it that way.
She is able to tell me all those things “so young” because we taught her to communicate as soon as we could. Every single day since birth we have spoken to her as if she could understand everything, making sure to associate signs with big important words like milk and diaper and mama and daddy. Fast forward to when she was about 6 months old and she could actually starts grasping them—well, the sign for milk anyways. It has been soooooo helpful in keeping everybody sane and as calm for as long as possible.
Now at 18 months old she can sign to tell us she is hungry, and then specifies whether she wants mama-milk, water, or food. She signs when she wants her diaper changed and when she has pooped (we are slowly working on her telling us BEFORE!), and even when she wants cream on her skin (eczema). She blows kisses and gives the best hugs, she says the words hi and bye as she waves, and beautifully pronounces mama and daddy. Her verbal word vocabulary is growing everyday to catch up with her baby sign repertoire, and she understands so much more than she can say or sign. It makes my life so much easier because I don’t have to guess why she is crying all the time; she tells me what she wants before it even gets that far!
But you know what? I still get to complain when she’s been crying all day because she’s teething, or because she is a crank pot because she skipped her nap this morning, or because she’s been a stage-five clinger since we came back from visiting family. Just because someone else has it worse does not invalidate my feelings. And just because I have a good baby doesn’t mean it isn’t of my doing. I agree, I am so blessed and grateful for what I have, but don’t you dare chalk it up to luck!
While we are at it, I may have been lucky to find my husband, but staying in love and sharing household responsibilities has nothing to do with luck. It takes effort and coordination. Also, just because he does amazing things for me and our family doesn’t mean I don’t get to complain when he forgets to do the simplest things asked of him or does ridiculously dumb things. I am not luck for having a husband who lets me sleep in almost every day, or lucky that he makes us food all the time, or lucky that he rubs my back at night to help me sleep. I am grateful and appreciative, and I reciprocate in other ways. I watch the baby—err, toddler—all day, I clean the toilets, I keep track of all of our finances and appointments and family paperwork, and so much more than is just second nature for me at this point. It is a team effort, and if me getting an extra hour of sleep in the morning makes all of that possible, that’s the effort he puts in so that I can put in mine.
Some days we do experience luck—like when hubby thought it would be safe to change a poopy diaper on the floor in the nursery and somehow managed to clean the shit off baby’s hands before she got it on the white carpet!—but to sum up all of our parenting efforts into something that just happened to us is not fair at all. WE did this and WE deserve the credit. But yes, we will gladly accept all the luck we can get—this parenting game is rewarding but tough!