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Girl Talk: My Baby's Growing Up!

Q: I'm having a hard time coming to terms with my son's first birthday. I just got the hang of things -- and now he's turning into a toddler! I'm overwhelmed at what's ahead. When will I get my bearings again?

You got the hang of things? I'm jealous. I've booked passage on the USS Baby three times now, and I still seem to lack a compass. Maybe that's because each kid is different. Darn those individual personalities.

Throughout each year -- each day, each hour even -- you may feel like you have all of the answers one minute, then in the next, you're asking, "What's the question, again?" The important thing to remember is that losing your bearings doesn't mean you are lost. All you have to do is consult your personal GPS, or global parenting system -- it's the guidance network that's gotten you this far.

How did you know what to do during your child's first 12 months? I'm guessing that you asked your pediatrician questions, read parenting books and magazines, called your mother, and chatted with mom friends. But you also spent a lot of time with your son and you know him better than anyone. Now that your baby is stepping over the toddler threshold, you're still the best person to guide him. Just continue relying on your GPS. By being informed, being relaxed, and especially, being yourself, you'll find the path to the future.

This is not to say you won't feel lost at times. You will. The riptide of change might even drag you down now and then. But if you trust yourself, you'll be able to make it back to terra firma once again. Of course, that will probably happen right before your toddler changes into a preschooler.