You can read all the parenting books out there - and you might think you really know "What to Expect" - but I've always said the best parenting teacher out there is your first child.
And Gavin was just that for us - he taught us everything we needed to know. And then some.
There are times when I have questions about how I should handle things - like Brian's skin issue - but then remember that Gavin left the answers behind.
And there are times when I watch Hope in amazement as she discovers more and more of the world around her. And I remember how grateful I am that Gavin left behind for me a deep appreciation for every developmental stage.
Today we had a pretty major snowstorm that cancelled Brian's school and kept us in our pajamas all day. I decided that today was the perfect day to try a new skin remedy on Brian's poor legs. (We didn't end up going to the pediatrician today)
My other remedies - all that I learned over the years due to Gavin and his eczema flare ups - haven't worked for Brian. I use coconut oil a TON - for a lot of things. I've used Crisco, which is actually an awesome moisturizer. Liquid Glycerin. Aquaphor. I also don't bathe the kids every day. Brian and Gavin - unless they got messy - only got baths 3 times a week. And I only use soap (mild, homemade goats milk soap or Aquaphor liquid soap) on their hands, feet and private parts. We don't do anything scented, either, as scents can trigger eczema flares.
But one thing I haven't ever tried - that I learned was an amazing lotion for eczema - was A&D Ointment. Yes, the diaper lotion!! I bought a tub and pulled out old sweat pants and a ratty shirt and slathered Brian's entire body this morning. I re-applied in the early afternoon and by bedtime, his skin looked great. I'll repeat the process tomorrow and let you know how it goes. He told me he felt great today and barely itched at all!!
Brian was stuck inside with me and Hope all day. He was so happy when Daddy got home from work and said they could go out in the snow to play!!
Daddy was definitely the hero tonight!
He even got down for snow angels!!
I watched from inside with the baby in my arms. And I got a little choked up when Brian paid a little visit to "Gavin's Tree" on the back deck. We bought this tree this year because we knew that Gavin would have loved it. It twinkles right outside our kitchen windows and every time I look at it I can picture Gavin pressing his face up against the glass enjoying the lights. I can't bear to take it down just yet.
Gavin had to work hard for every single thing - big and small - his entire life. Every time he reached a developmental milestone - even the tiniest one - I would celebrate. It took a long time for Gavin to reach out and touch a toy. Here he is at six months under a baby gym - which he only enjoyed with his eyes.
He couldn't make the brain - hand - toy connection just yet. That was a lot of planning and processing!!
For the past week, Hope has been really enjoying her baby gym. She is seven weeks old. She especially loves the little octopus and has been intentionally reaching out to touch and bat and even grab it. Every single time she does this - I think of Gavin.
Because I know all of the motor planning involved in these seemingly simple events, I don't at all take them for granted.
Because of Gavin - and how hard he worked - I learned to appreciate every part of his siblings' development. Everything Brian did on his own seemed miraculous to me. Holding his head up... using his hands... sitting up... it was all so beautiful and made us feel so grateful.
And now - everything Hope does we feel just the same.
Actually - her mere existence is a miracle to us.