I believe that being a parent is a taxing job, if not the toughest and challenging job there is, in the whole wide world. In the weeks since we had our baby, my wife and I realised and learned a lot of things on the job. Being a parent involves being perpetually tired, endlessly worried and constantly thinking of the best way to bring up the child, all of which I had covered in detail in a previous post (Babyland – Episode 2). In the same breath though, I also believe that some of the perks and rewards that comes with being a parent, is something that can’t be matched by any other job in the world.
To start with, there is the benefit of watching the miracle that is a baby figuring out how to do things on his own and the joy etched on his face when he successfully does it. For the first few weeks, he slept and remained on his back obediently. He would remain lying on his back anywhere we chose to leave him, as he slept, cooed, gazed intently at anything that caught his fancy or simply getting to know his hands and feet. Those weeks gave us the false believe that it wasn’t that difficult be a parent. I mean, how difficult was it to take care of a stationary baby, right?
One fine day, we found him on his tummy, giving us a wide smile, with his hands stuck under him and his legs flailing behind him, excitement evident on his face. Days later, we found him on his tummy, smiling at us, with both his hands and legs flailing gently around him. He had figured out how to move his hand free from under his body. Then, he progressed to flipping from his back to his tummy and then back as he wanted. He was basically rolling around at will.
Soon, he decided rolling around was boring and that it was time to crawl. He started off with failed attempts at raising his buttocks. After days of working on his muscles, he managed to raise his buttocks up and remained in that manner for a while without dropping down in exhaustion. Then, he got stuck in figuring out how to move his knees and hands in a coordinated manner and ended up dropping to his tummy in frustration and exhaustion.
Realising that he was getting nowhere, he decided he might have better luck with a combination of “swimming” and a military crawl. I was pretty certain then and still hope that in the future, he would give Michael Phelps or his contemporary at that time, a swim for his money. With the “swimming” and military crawl move, our baby was on the go, no longer stationary. Then one morning, we found him crawling towards us, at the speed of a speeding bullet. As he approached us, he gave us this wide smile of his, implying that he has accomplished something and was proud of himself for having pulled it off. A smile to warm the heart.
Then, there is the joy of teaching and watching the baby, learn and repeat what has been taught. To start with, it is not easy to teach a baby. Then, waiting for the baby to show what was learned, takes ages. Babies tend to have a mind of their own. They generally do the opposite of what you would like them to do. However, when they finally show you what they have learned, mimicking as close as can be expected of a baby, of what they observed from you, it is truly a wonderful sight and feeling.
I remember watching my wife teaching our baby the actions from a nursery rhyme. It was the “Wheels on the bus” song and she was trying to show him the actions for wheels going round and round as well as the wipers going swish, swish and swish. He would smile amusingly at my wife as she made those actions as she sang the song. At times he would laugh and only God and he knows if he was laughing at her or with her.
Being the teacher that she is, she persisted with it and one afternoon while coaxing him to eat by singing the nursery rhyme, he rewarded her persistency. He did the exact same actions according to the verse of the nursery rhyme. Now, that was a sight to see. My wife laughing away happily as he showed he had learned something, as well as that of our baby laughing at the sight of her laughing.
Lastly, there is the benefit of being beneficiaries in the transaction of unconditional love and unlimited adoration between parent and baby, that goes both ways. Having a baby brings out all the love in us and the ability to adore somebody. More importantly, both love and adoration, comes out unconditionally and in unlimited supply. The fact that we are exhibiting these emotions, puts our mind and body in a very positive state. When the same love and adoration is returned to us, both unconditionally and in unlimited supply, the positive state of our mind just multiplies.
Now, adults may show love and adoration through expensive gifts, flowery words and beautiful flowers. These tend to make us feel good. However, the feeling of love and adoration that one gets from a baby, can be exhilarating. A baby, with no means to show love and adoration through expensive gifts, flowery words and beautiful flowers, does it in a very simple yet powerful manner. One that we adults may have forgotten.
It is reflected in the eyes of the baby gazing at you, in the way the baby melts into your arms, in the silent words mouthed by the baby and the pure innocent smile the baby gives out to you. The baby achieves this by simply being there with you and only you, at that moment. Having experienced precious moments like this with our baby, I have to admit that it is truly a valuable and powerful feeling. It is one that only a baby can pull-off.
Being a parent, especially of a baby, might be a taxing and tough job. However, the benefit of watching a baby successfully figure out how to do things on his own, the joy of teaching and watching a baby, learn and repeat what was taught and being participants in the exchange of unconditional love and unlimited adoration, can be quite rewarding. More than anything else, being parents is an opportunity granted by God and that in itself should be rewarding enough, right?
P.S.: Featured image is sourced from Pexels.