Life is full of surprises when you're a parent. We thought we'd prepare you for a few of them.
Your child will say "I love you"
You may encourage your little one to say those three little words on a number of occasions. However, the first time he says "I love you" unprompted will take you by surprise and melt your heart.
Of course, your child will have shown his bond with you in many ways before he is old enough to say the words. The tantrum when you reunite after a separation, feeding you his dinner and those sloppy head-butt kisses all tell you how special you are.
Your child will get too big for your lap
There will come a day when you can't comfortably sit with your child on your lap anymore while you read a book together or watch a film. While you might feel sad when this time comes, you can still snuggle up in bed together on cold mornings and have big bear hugs.
Your child will want time alone
You may have become used to not being able to go to the bathroom without your little one waiting for you outside the door. So when you’re suddenly confronted by an unfamiliar silence, you'll probably rush to make sure everything's OK. What will you find? Your child playing happily alone. He may even have gone into his own room and shut the door behind him. While this might be a bit of a wrench for you, try not to feel too upset. It's all part of him developing his independence.
Your child will teach you a thing or two
While you find yourself struggling to remember where you put your keys and what you gave grandma for Christmas last year, your child and his sharp mind will remind you. As he starts preschool and then school, he will also share with you what he's learning, which may well be things you've forgotten all about.
Your child will hurt your feelings
Unfortunately, there will be times when your child will say things he doesn’t really mean. So prepare yourself for the day when he says he hates you. He'll also tell you how "mean" you are, and when he's much older, how "embarrassing" you are. And then there are the daily honesties that can be hard to hear: "Mummy, your teeth are yellow!" or "Daddy, your breath smells bad!" It’s best to stay calm and explain to your child that saying such things isn’t nice and can hurt people's feelings.
Your child will show true bravery
Your child will be terrified of doing something, perhaps sleeping in the dark for the first time, but one evening you'll see him push through the fear and make it through the night. Prepare to feel immense pride.
Your child will make you a better person
As you know your child is watching, you'll find yourself swearing less, being kinder to others and maybe even promoting a more positive body image. Enjoy setting a good example to your ever-surprising child.
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