Friday, May 4, 2007

Okay, So He's Not Perfect

It took a while. It's hard to admit. I have to face it. My son is not perfect.

We haven't been challenged with serious parenting trials. Sure, we had to care for his circumcised penis. We dealt with the typical late nights. On the other hand, he's been sleeping through the night since two months. He almost never cries, and when he does he is easily consoled.

For all of the things other parents have gone through, we've had an easy road. My son had not so much as a diaper rash, let alone illness. Almost no baby acne, no significant dry skin, and no reactions to different foods that my wife consumes. And he's damn handsome.

Then it happened. He caught a cold. The stuffed nose, loud breathing, restlessness. It was unacceptable. My son doesn't get sick. He's too cute to get sick. But it was true. My son was not the perfect child. He is human and capable of getting sick. The reality has sunk in.

Every parent has their own philosophy on raising his or her child. Today, we're going to stick with the health aspects of parenting.

There are some parents who make sure everything is as clean as possible. They not only wash their own hands before and after handling their child, but also use sanitizer. They keep everything clean that can come into contact with the child. Climate conditions are kept at a constant level. The child is never exposed to harsh elements. In their minds, eliminating possible exposure reduces chances for serious illness and disease.

Then there are the people who don't worry about their children's sanitary surroundings. In their minds, dirt is a part of life. Germs are a part of life. They change diapers at appropriate times, bathe their child, but are neither concerned going out on cold and rainy days, nor on hot and sunny days. Being around people with colds is little cause for concern. To these people, their children are going to be exposed to all kinds of things. Better to do it early to build up defenses to stay healthy later.

My wife and I combine the two methods, she leaning more towards the former, myself the latter. I have to admit, I don't wash my hands every time I pick up my son, nor every time I change his diaper. He does tummy time on a mat that has been washed once in the three months he's been using it. I don't necessarily cover him completely when its breezy nor when its sunny. My wife does things a bit more conservatively with him.

Still, after having done so for a couple of months, I felt like a pro. It turns out, there's no education like experience. Experience comes from overcoming hardship. And being a dummy.

There is a time to send your kid to the neighbor's house whose kids have chicken pox. There is a time to put on a hat and gloves. I probably missed that last time.

To say that he isn't perfect is wrong. He is my perfect child. For my wife and I, he is the most beautiful, the smartest, the funniest, and the most advanced baby we've ever seen. He'll get over this cold in record time. I'll just look out for the next time I think I'm doing something right. I just hope he's more perfect a kid than I am a parent.

A friend recently said to me, "He'll get the best and worst of the both of you," of course, referring to my wife and I. If that's true, then look out.

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