They should warn us about this before we have children...
Not that it would make a difference in the decision, but still, a warning would be nice.
Before I had kids, I used to watch other people with their kids, and think about what I would do differently, better, etc. It was so easy to be a critic when we were just sitting on the sidelines, wasn't it, not having to scrutinize our OWN behavior?
Now that I'm a mother, I always wonder "how am I doing?" Monkey is generally happy and healthy, so those are good indicators, but we all have those days (or at least I hope we all do) where we're tired, frustrated, and maybe we don't enjoy our little ones as much as we think we should, and at the end of the day, after they're asleep, we feel guilty that perhaps we yelled more than we should, we didn't read our little ones a story, we didn't feed them the healthiest food, we didn't teach them anything new, etc., etc., etc.
Just one example - before Monkey was born, I was so excited to teach him sign language. I had a friend who had done it with her daughter, and it was so amazing to see her daughter asking her for milk at a young age - imagine how much easier life will be once we can communicate, the sooner the better, right??
I bought a sign language book. It sits on a shelf, still shiny and new, opened only a few times, glanced at, but not really read... Ah, the best laid plans... I always blame it on there not being enough time, but maybe, just maybe, I'm not making good enough use of our time? Should I be making a better effort to do things like this each day, focus more on trying to "teach" than just playing? Or am I being overly concerned? I do read to Monkey when he'll allow it - I try to do signs when I remember - I'm a smart person, married to another smart person, who will manage to raise a properly educated kid, right?
As luck would have it, however, Monkey has finally learned one sign - "more." He's been doing it for ages, and I didn't even know what it was at first. Turns out, he appears to have picked it up at day care, and started doing it before he even knew what it meant. But we seized on it, and tried to get him to do it with purpose, which has finally happened in the past couple of weeks. He will now reach desperately for that food item out of reach on the table, and when he gets my attention, will make the "more" sign, and even say something that sounds like "mo." And now we're working on the opposite - "all done." It helps, just a bit. When Monkey starts throwing food on the floor (which is inevitable, either as a show of his feelings toward a particular type of food, an attempt to feed the ever-present under his highchair dog, or general playfullness), I can now often stop him mid-toss, and take the food away, quizzing him as to whether he's all done or still wants more. It's a bit of a game for him, and it isn't foolproof (like when he asks for more, only to immediately turn to throw it on the floor!), but it's progress. Baby steps...