Family, Living

Motherhood :: Month 4

Little man is four months old! I’m not sure how much, but I know he’s grown yet again, because his 6 month clothes are starting to be too short for him and I’m very grateful I have a good supply of 6-9 month outfits. At the rate he’s going, he’s going to be in the 12 month Avengers onesies my mom sent him by Christmas.

His little smile and laugh have shown up big time this month as well, and he’s quick to giggle at his own jokes {at least I’m pretty sure that’s what all the baby babble we’re hearing is, because it certainly ends in giggles}. He’s getting a lot more coordinated, and not only sits up well with help, but prefers to be sitting up either on his own or on one of our laps when we’re hanging out. He shocked the heck out of me the other day by almost sitting up out of my arms. He’s so eager to get a move on!

As he gets older and keeps growing, as much fun as it is to keep sharing everything I’ve learned about him, I’m also considering a pretty real question for parents in the digital age – what his social media presence should be. Aside from the safety aspect, he’s entering a world where his entire life will be online. What kind of rules should I set for myself and the rest of the family for what they post?

I started with the easy ones. No taking and posting unclothed baby pictures, no bathtime pictures, no tantrum and meltdown pictures. Basically, any picture I wouldn’t take and post of my grown kid or sibling, I’m not taking and posting of my baby. I’m not sacrificing my kid’s privacy in the name of being internet “real.”

The rest is more difficult. My initial impulse was to make these monthly updates all about my son, because I’m proud as hell of the little man and all he’s learning and doing and I want to shout it from the rooftops. But instead, they’re titled “Motherhood.” Because aside from a few pictures and a few monthly milestones for him, I’m telling the story I can tell here – mine. If he decides to take my notes, pictures, and observations someday and tell his own story, that’s his prerogative. In the meantime, I feel like there’s more value talking about the things I learn as a new mom each month than examining every aspect of my son’s life. That’s his future job.

Privacy and consent are a big deal to me, and I don’t feel like I can teach my son about them properly if I don’t respect his. He’s a little person. I don’t let strangers hold him or touch him, and if he looks uncomfortable with friends or relatives, I take him back quickly. When he’s older, I won’t make him hug anyone. We’ll offer a handshake or a high five instead.

It’s funny and sad how people get when you tell them that no, they can’t hold your baby, and it shows me how much we as a society have to learn about autonomy. If society expects my little boy to grow into a man who respects other people’s autonomy and consent, it better start producing people who don’t think they get to hold him, hug him, or touch him just because he’s little and cute. Because what does that teach him? Nothing good.

People tend to write off babies and little children as being too young to understand so much of the world, but they’re little sponges. You’re teaching them from day one. They learn if they can rely on you depending on whether or not their bids for attention go unanswered. They learn how you listen or don’t listen. So these lessons are ones I’m taking seriously. It’s setting the foundation for so much else I want to teach him.

2 thoughts on “Motherhood :: Month 4”

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