MY LITTLE GUINEA PIG: A LETTER TO MY FIRSTBORN
Originally published November 15, 2011
I feel bad for you almost every day. There’s so much you don’t know yet about being a firstborn. There’s so much you don’t know about being so damned smart. There’s so much you Just. Don’t. Know.
And unfortunately, just as you are learning new things about the world every day, I am learning more about being a parent every day. Ethan you are my guinea pig child. It’s cruel, and unfair, and a lot of burden to put onto any child. But, that is the lot of the firstborn.
Every day I find myself becoming frustrated with you – and with myself. There is a delicate balance between letting you be your crazy, funny, out of control 3 (almost 4) year old self, and teaching you how you are supposed to act in this world. And because you’re so damned smart, I forget that you’re only 3. I expect so much of you – more than a parent should expect from someone who is still learning about the world. You understand so much, you remember everything, and you learn things so easily…it’s hard to remember that technically you’re still a toddler in the books! How silly!!! How could you possibly be a toddler, you brilliant, creative, wonderful child? Yes, you’re a preschooler, but compared to your classmates…you’re practically an adult.
You amaze me every day. So, yes, I expect you to be older than you are. To act older than you are. But, dear child, I am trying. I try every day to remember that you are exactly the way you need to be. I try to remember that you will learn all that you need to know. I try to remember that it’s really not going to hurt anything if I let you explore your world, splash in the bathtub, speak in your crazy made-up language, or color outside the lines. It’s only going to help you learn how to be a kid. The amazing, beautiful, kid you are.
Please remember that as you are growing and learning in this world, so am I. You have a lot of responsibility to shoulder, my son, because you made me what I am. You made me a mommy. And you have to teach me, just as I teach you.
Please remember, that even when I shout, even when I get angry, even when it seems like everything you ask me comes with a “No” answer….please remember that I love you more than my own life. And I always will. No matter what.