I’ve lived most of my life with low expectations – always swimming below the surface, just under the radar. It’s a protective layer for me, a shield from the potential discomfort of being disappointed or swallowed by, I don’t know, a seagull or something. It’s also kept me from basking on the shore, spread out and vulnerable like a starfish in the midst of a luxurious nap. (And in these early days of baby-rearing, who doesn’t want a nap?)
But somewhere along the line, I’ve confused low expectations with zero faith. I’ve navigated parenting with a “What if?” gnat buzzing in my ear, always anticipating the worst: public tantrums and sleepless nights and stressed out spouses. And yes, these do arrive. But…
Bee’s favorite Disney movie is Dumbo and, my goodness, do we have that sweet baby elephant to thank for getting us through some very long teething days (and nights!) as of late. For the past two weeks, we’ve cuddled to the song of Baby Mine, laughed at the circus clown performances and cried at the thought of Dumbo’s over-sized ears being anything less than celebrated to the fullest.
And the more I watch this sweet film, the more I realize how many life lessons are nestled throughout tales of peanuts and mice, mothers and adversity…
Our tiny family of three is traveling to Singapore in May, so we’ve been spending the bulk of our free time gathering paperwork for Bee’s first passport. The process is relatively quick and painless (especially after reading fellow Disney Baby blogger Mary’s excellent tips here!), but we did experience one surprising hang-up: the official passport photo.
As much as I’d love to share that my days with Bee are rose-colored and sunshine-filled, the reality is that we each have our good moments and bad. An eternal optimist, I’m quick to focus on our more positive times together, especially when sharing stories and memories of this magical stage of parenting. But at the same time, I understand the need for solidarity between mothers. For support and encouragement and real, practical advice to conjure up when the moments are hard and the tantrums are spirited. So today, I’m sharing my favorite tip to prevent tantrums from escalating (for babies and mamas alike!):
Bee seems to be a typical first child – incredibly active, very verbal and filled to the brim with endless curiosity. She’s the type of baby who entered her tantrum stage early, quickly forming opinions about what color fruit she’d like, which boots she wants to wear and – perhaps the oddest tantrum we’ve experienced – where the pocket on her shirt is placed (I know). For Bee, every moment is an opportunity to learn something about the world in which she lives. And for me – her mother – I relish teaching her that the world in which she lives is much bigger than her own backyard.
Earlier this year, my husband expressed interest in teaching her Mandarin Chinese. She loves learning new words and phrases and the timing seemed perfect to dip our toes into the waters of exposing her to a second language. The only problem? Neither of us know a lick of Chinese, and the process of learning side-by-side seemed rather intimidating. Here was our solution: