The Quillen Family
What is your favorite family tradition?
Pretty much since I started dating my husband, we've always gone to his parents' for Sunday lunch; and as the family grows (my husband has 3 older brothers, and our daughter is the 9th grandchild), these gatherings just get louder, more chaotic, and more amazing.
I'm an only child, so it's fun for me to see the siblings interact, and awesome that I have fantastic sisters-in-law who have become great friends over the years. I'm so grateful that our daughter gets the chance to know her aunts, uncles, and cousins so well, and will have such an amazing network of people to love and support her as she grows.
Tell us about your favorite family story.
I'm not sure we have one specific family story. I love seeing our daughter interact with her cousins and grandparents (on both sides of the family), and seeing how curious she is about everyone and everything. I think some of my favorite stories involve watching our dogs react to the new baby when we brought her home, and how sweet and attentive they are with her as she grows and gets more mobile... and how much they love that she is now feeding herself...and them.
She loves animals, and was offering the dogs kisses before she really gave us kisses. She's also very social (don't know where she got that), and absolutely must wave at anyone driving by when we're playing outside; an ambulance driver even slowed down to wave at her as they drove by.
Share Your Parenting Wisdom
What's your number one tip for new parents?
Try to be patient with yourself, and not worry too much about how you're "supposed to" do things with your baby. It's definitely a learning curve becoming a parent, and there will be many frustrations trying to figure out what your baby is trying to communicate to you (honestly, it 99% of the time boils down to sleepy, hungry, needs a diaper, or just wants to be held); it's easy to drive yourself crazy trying to do things "right." So, though it can be hard, try to just go with what works for you and your family, and brush off unasked-for advice if your methods are working for you.
What has been the most surprising thing you've learned as a parent?
That, as most people will say, becoming a parent totally changes your life... but also, it kind of doesn't. Or, it doesn't have to make you change everything about your life, or cut out things you enjoyed before becoming a parent. I guess I'm saying that it was surprisingly easier than expected to just fit the baby into our lifestyle and incorporate her into whatever activities we wanted to do. Yes, it might take a little extra planning, but it wasn't as challenging as one might think.
Tell us about your funniest parenting story (we all have them!)
There are many, but one that comes to mind occurred shortly after our girl started eating solid foods. My parents were visiting, and we had all filled our plates with our meat and veggies and mashed potatoes, and offered my daughter little bits of things on her tray. She had, so far, really enjoyed trying anything and everything, so it was surprising when she kept pushing things away and screaming at us.
Finally, I pulled her out of her highchair to sit on my lap, thinking she might must want out of her chair...and she grabbed a double handful of my mashed potatoes. Turned out she apparently just wanted her own pile of potatoes, instead of the piddly baby spoonful I was trying to give her. She was perfectly happy to sit in her highchair and plow through her potato pile once I figured out what she wanted. :-D