The Only Thing That I Know: I Know Nothing

What am I going to do, once the baby is here? How on earth am I going to look after and keep safe this tiny being that is going to be dependent on us for absolutely everything?

I don’t have a clue. Because so far, the only thing that I know for sure about being a parent is that I know nothing.

How could I? I’ve never done this before.

Okay, nothing is perhaps a bit strong. I know how to change a nappy. I know what various bits of baby equipment are for and how to work them. I know lots of scientific facts about the value of breastmilk and I’m intimately aquainted with the debates about formula, at what age weaning should occur and whether it’s a bad idea to have a pink pushchair or go to McDonalds with your two year old.

I think I can probably keep a newborn fairly safe and warm. Keeping a toddler safe could be a much bigger challenge. I have no idea about feeding really, because as much as I want to breastfeed I don’t know how hard I’m going to find it and whether I might end up not being able to do it. I don’t know anything about how to stimulate a small baby appropriately, or how to discipline a toddler effectively. I don’t know how to get an infant to take a nap, or the best way to tackle potty training when that time comes. I don’t know these things in general, and I certainly don’t know how they will work specifically with my child, who will be a unique little person in their own right.

I find parents-to-be who make rash statements about what they WILL and WILL NOT do quite amusing. I’ll happily list the things that I’d like to do. And the things that, at the moment, I think I’d rather not do. But how can I say for sure that I will breast feed exclusively for 6 months, won’t use a dummy and will never let my child eat junk food.

I know nothing and I’ll be learning on the job. That is all that I can say with certainty


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