Seven months ago, I went to the hospital and returned home with a brand new human being. He was all eyes and black hair, our little 8-and-a-half pound Tokki. As my husband and I spent the heady first few days and weeks gazing into his giant, reflective eyes, awestruck by his tiny body, I thought, “I’m going to be the best mom. I’ve read the books. Now all I have to do is whatever comes naturally to me.”
Ding dong. Reality came calling (and it called me a ding-dong). I learned quickly that parenting doesn’t come “naturally” to anyone. Loving our children comes naturally, sure, but parenting? That’s a skill. And it takes a lot of learning.
In his book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10 000 hours of practice to master a skill. Parents, who are up all night, rack up 10 000 hours pretty quickly. In fact, for new parents, the 10 000th hour hits around 4 pm, a month and three weeks after the baby turns a year old.
The only thing standing between us and virtuoso parenting is that parenting is a moving target. A one-week old is different from an 8-week-old. A baby learning to sit up is different tomorrow than he is from yesterday. If my Tokki would just slow down a little, perhaps I could be a perfect mom by the time he is thirteen months old. Instead, the little swaddled lump I brought home last summer can now do things like hungrily shove a cracker into his eager mouth and thump a rattle against his miniature pot belly. In other words, he changes every day. When it comes to development, my Tokki is off to the races, a zippy automated bunny going around the track, with me, the hound, left in his dust. 10 000 hours of practice? There’s no time for that.
When I realized how little I knew about what I was doing, I tried cramming with more books. They turned out to be wildly varied in their credentials. Some popular books are quite good, while some are awful, with a few unfortunate titles being, in my opinion, downright dangerous.
And all the while, I’ve been talked down from the rafters through moments with other parents as we discuss teething, sleeping, breastfeeding, solids – absolutely everything. It’s why I’m excited to start a parenting blog. The informative discussions I have with other parents is what gets me through. Of course, play dates and face-to-face are great, but for those moments when you can’t get out, or baby’s asleep upstairs or whatever it may be, I hope you, reader, will use the awesome power of the Internet to chime in and rescue me from whatever crazy thing I’m doing wrong and I’ll try to do the same for you.
My little Tokki and I will see you next week.

Read more from Hannah Sung (and see a video of her cutie):
The Babe and His Home Movie Debut