Next in my series on the naive things I believe as a first time parent: I believe that I will be able to break the habits I’m teaching Isaac now.
It’s easiest to explain this by example. So for instance, I’m trying to teach Isaac to suck his thumb… because Isaac’s thumb will always be around him and thumb sucking is something he can do on his own to calm himself down.
Nice enough. However, if Isaac continues to suck his thumb through grade school, he could develop mouth/tooth problems. My niece is actually wearing a brace to correct an overbite (under bite?) that is probably a result of thumb sucking.
So I naively believe that I will be able to do a better job at “breaking” Isaac of his habit of thumb sucking than my brother was with his daughter. How do I plan to do that? Well, Isaac will put his thumb/hand in his mouth for two main reasons: (1) to calm himself down… when he’s upset or tired and (2) cause he’s teething. He won’t be teething forever, and as for #1 it will be my job to teach Isaac 3-year-old ways to calm himself down: count to ten, draw, read a book, play a game, talk with someone, etc, etc.
I’m sure my brother would laugh at that. Cause I know he tried his hardest to get his daughter to stop sucking hers. We’ll see how I do.
I’m doing a lot of things that members of my family would call “spoiling” or otherwise creating bad habits for us and Isaac. But Isaac is just a 4-month old. So I shouldn’t worry too much yet about how he’s going to be when he’s 4 or 5-years old. Sure, crying for “no reason” and being held could be a bad thing for a 4-year old to do. But a 4-month old doesn’t know any better. For Isaac now, it’s important to teach him that his parents are there for him when he needs them… that’s all he understands.
I know that Isaac is going to get older, smarter, and more mature. And as he does, I will be able to teach him how to be patient, control his emotions, go to bed on his own, and all the things he’ll need to do.
I’ll teach him about patience when he understands what patience means. I’ll teach him about discipline when he can understand what discipline means. I’ll teach him about respect when he can understand what respect means. In the meantime, I’ll teach him about love and happiness and curiosity. Those seem to be the things he understands now.