My dad was not one to be free and easy with praise when I was growing up. My mom would tell me that he would sometimes comment positively about an accomplishment of mine to her, and she would ask why not tell me? He said he did not want me to get "the big head." Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain, as I had a terrible case of the big head well into my twenties. It is all my mother's fault. I'm not sure how this dynamic worked - if Daddy could see that my mom was inflating my ego and so withheld praise, or if my mom felt that she needed to make up for Daddy's reticence. I am not complaining, as high self-esteem worked as a fantastic insulator through my adolescence. Yes, I was kind of a jerk, but it seemed to have saved me from making a lot of bad decisions. Also, boys liked it.
While I say that too big of a head was better than too small, I would like to hit more of a happy medium with my own daughter. I seem to be running into some difficulties, as I've already caught my husband telling her that he was so proud of her. I think maybe she had looked at him or perhaps burped. It must've been impressive. I've heard that you're supposed to praise the effort, not the child. So rather than saying "Look how strong you are!", you say "I can tell you are working very hard to be able to lift your head up so high!" Or something like that. Truth be told, I haven't quite got it down either.
Outside sources also seem to be conspiring to inflate her ego. For instance, books. We received a lot of books as gifts, which we've been reading to her from very early. She doesn't understand it, but she likes to hear our voices and look at the pictures. Some of these books are new to us, and so sometimes I come across one that I decide not to keep for whatever reason. A couple of them have been inane, a couple more have some questionable messages, and one used the word "faggot" to refer to building material.
But there was this one book, holy cow, which was going to give my child the big head. It was about how her birth was such a momentous occasion, the wind whispered her name and the polar bears danced and something about the geese honking or flying. It was ridiculous. Jesus himself only got a few shepherds, a star, and a multitude of the heavenly host.
So, my little baby, on the night you were born, most people slept through it, but like a hundred people were really happy when they checked their email the next morning. Your first picture got more than two hundred Likes on Facebook. The wind and the polar bears continued doing their wind and polar bear things. You are so loved, little baby, but the geese don't care about you at all.