When your baby’s crying at 3am or your toddler starts throwing a tantrum, it's easy to forget the good bits about being a parent. To help you through the tough times, here's our roundup of the things that make parenting fun.
The first year
- Panicking because your newborn doesn’t arrive with an instruction manual, then realising how much fun it is learning on the job.
- Feeling a tiny fist curl around your finger when you touch your baby’s palm.
- Gazing into your baby's eyes and knowing he trusts you totally.
- Breathing in the best smell in the world: sleepy baby!
- Being amazed the first time you wrap him up in his blanket, put him against your shoulder, pat him gently, and the yelling stops!
- Being the most tired you've ever been in your whole life – and the most happy.
- Sitting in bed feeding your baby in the middle of the night, and knowing that all over the world other mums are doing the same.
- Watching your husband, parents and in-laws, taking turns to show off your precious bundle of joy to all visitors.
- Feeling totally blessed during your baby's naamkaran ceremony and enjoying all the attention from relatives and friends. There's nothing like explaining why you chose the special name and what the nakshatras and numbers may mean.
- Overhearing your husband at a party talking earnestly about the best paediatrician in town.
- Watching your baby's sleeping face and wondering what the future holds for him.
- Discovering how lovely those tiny sounds can be -- even if they are in the middle of the night or at dawn!
- Taking him out for the first time and discovering that everyone wants to stop, smile and talk.
- Learning the lyrics of lullabies and lories and experiencing that amazing feeling of tenderness when your baby falls asleep in your arms.
- Enjoying shopping for baby and looking with wonder at the range of baby clothes and toys and buying all the things you've always wanted!
- Discovering how infectious a baby's giggles can be and recording it so you can set it as your ring-tone or alarm.
- Finding out how different and special the first Holi, Diwali , Raksha bandhan and Christmas is when you're celebrating with this little miracle! Why even the seasons have a whole new meaning now.
- Exchanging a smile with other pram-pushing mums.
- Taking millions of pictures, and creating online and offline albums.
- Being super excited about your baby's annaprashan and dreaming up fantastic combinations and creative ways to serve khichdi, kheer and other first foods
Toddler and beyond
21. Discovering all the special characteristics that make your little one unique: fat toes, sticky-out ears, hair that sticks up no matter how much it's brushed.
22. Spending hours looking at recipe sites and cookbooks or sharing new recipes with other mums just like you.
23. Developing a new family language as your toddler or asks for a ‘bikkit’ or appreciates something with a cute 'ahaa'.
24. Finding crayon marks and fingerprints on your freshly painted walls and admiring the most beautiful work of art!
25. Knowing the right things to say and the best way to help when your family members or friends have a baby.
26. Watching dada-dadi and nana-nani spoil their little treasure rotten.
27. Joining in toddler pleasures like squeezing play dough in your hands, blowing bubbles, making paper boats or jumping in puddles.
28. Discovering that he's inherited your love of music or his dad's interest in racing cars and cricket.
29. Or, even better, discovering he has totally different talents, like dancing or painting. Where did that come from?
30. Waking up to a sloppy kiss from your toddler.
31. Rediscovering the simple pleasures in life. Enjoying brightly coloured flowers, or the feel of sand between your toes with your little one.
32. Getting used to being known as Rahul's mummy or Aanya's daddy. And having other children call you "Aunty" and "Uncle".
33. Crying when you see a baby born on TV, and understanding how a mum feels - no matter which corner of the world she is in.
34. Discovering the pleasures of three in a bed. Even if you and your husband only have a few inches of space while your little one lies sideways across the middle.
35. Enjoying the chance to be really silly again. You can walk around quacking like a duck or sit at the table wearing a bib to encourage your toddler to eat.
36. Trying to answer those awkward questions: Do fish sleep? Why is the sky blue? Where is my tail?
37. Relishing the moment when he first says, "I love you, Mumma".
38. Re-discovering how brilliant children's books are, even if you do sometimes have to "lose" the one he's wanted every night for the last three weeks!
39. Watching him having all the fun in the world with simple things - a mug of water, a piece of paper or even a katori and spoon.
40. Preparing for his first fancy dress party. It doesn’t matter if he decides to dress up like an orange, a star, Chhota Bheem or Baby Krishna - you're bound to go the whole hog!
41. Learning how to multi-task. You can now make a milkshake with one hand, wipe paint off your toddler’s face with the other, while taking a call from your mum.
42. Discovering the world through your toddler's eyes: seeing him gaze at the moon and stars or stare transfixed at the fish in an aquarium.
43. Making a whole new circle of friends, who just happen to be parents, too. Your social life is now all about play dates and birthday parties.
44. Seeing your values – trying to be kind, honest, and treating others the way you'd like to be treated – rub off on him.
45. Enjoying making up with a hug and kiss once a tantrum is over.
46. Going to a kids' film and no longer being the only unaccompanied adult in the queue!
47. Finding out that bringing up children gives your life a new sense of focus.
48. Crying when you drop him off at playschool or daycare for the first time. Then bursting with pride when you pick him up and realise he hasn't missed you at all.
49. Keeping all his best art and craft work from playschool and turning your home into your own art gallery.
50. Hearing your child say "Maa" and "Papa" and wondering who that is, then realising – it's YOU!