Not Another “Parenting Lessons” List…

We’ve had a child for one year.

A full year.

We’ve gone through every holiday once. We’ve been through each season once. And who knows how many pots of coffee we’ve had.

I could write a sappy happy little post about what we’ve experienced throughout the last year. I could write a sweet little letter. I mean, I have one of those started but really, that’s too personal to put out there. So I think I’ll just write the letter to Liam and put it in an envelope for when he is older.

What I have decided to do, however, is write up a list of lessons I’ve learned. Some are practical little things that make each day easier. Some are more specific to Liam, myself, Chad, and, of course, the animals.

So what have I learned this year? Here goes:

  1. The cats actually prepared me for the infant years and the toddler years.
  2. I’ve realized that I process my days and make my future plans while playing video games. I never knew that until I became a parent.
  3. I’m capable of way more than I thought.
  4. The over 50 and under 30 crowds are the most judgmental towards parents and kids. (Though, there are definitely judgmental people in the 30s-40s crowd. And honestly, those are the ones that always catch me off guard because it tends to be people you never expected to heap loads of judgment on you.)
  5. Judgement isn’t always blunt or loud, but done passively. My favorite Judgment is Coming phrase is, “Welllll, as long as you’re…” K. Thanks.
  6. Spending time on your phone is not the end of the world. Sometimes it is the only way you can get a break. However, if you feel like you’re getting nothing done and the day goes by too fast, check how often you get on your phone. You’ll most likely be shocked by just how much time you spend on it.
  7. There will be days when you don’t want to hold your kid for one more second. And then they go off and play by themselves and you instantly miss holding them and also start wondering if they hate you and if that’s why they don’t want you to hold them. Until 5 minutes later when they come back wanting you to hold them.
  8. If you’re concerned about something medically, and your pediatrician doesn’t listen or take you seriously, get a second opinion and find a new doctor. Some doctors like to assume parents are just overtired and overreacting, missing major health concerns while others listen and help you figure out what’s going on.
  9. Clothing sizes are wildly inaccurate (as most women can attest to anyway).
  10. Baths after a messy breakfast or baths after a particularly bad diaper can really help clean up the baby easily. BUT REMEMBER, you will have to clean the bath and that is sometimes worse than cleaning the baby.
  11. Slowly introduce your child to sweets before their smash cake. If they aren’t used to a lot of sugar, well, it’ll be rough.
  12. Netflix, Disney, Pixar, etc. are often necessary for kids under one. Some days, I am only able to get a shower or do housework because of Moana. Thank the old gods and the new for Moana.
  13. No parenting style is the perfect one. My style is rather eclectic because I’ve pieced together different ones to custom fit Liam.
  14. Use shirts or pjs as a full body bib when your kid is eating messy foods. It makes cleanup SO MUCH EASIER. Trust me. We had peanut butter and bananas today and cleanup didn’t require a bath.
  15. The messier the house, the happier Liam is. At first, his toys strewn everywhere really stressed me out. Now, I relax when I see the living room is a mess because that means he is feeling well. If hardly any toys are out, that’s a sure sign he is feeling poorly.
  16. Going outside is splendid. Staying inside is also splendid.
  17. Babywearing is beautiful. Unless, of course, you have a very curious kid. And then it is immensely dangerous.
  18. No one prepares you for the fake cough, so let me: when your baby realizes you don’t immediately respond to a fake cry, they will start the fake cough. Because, no matter how fake it sounds, you’ll always jump up and see if everything is ok.
  19. Babies and kids are master manipulators. They’re like cats. They’re adorable. They’re cuddly. And they’re always calculating just how to make you do what they want you to do.
  20. Baby toys are cat toys. Cat toys are baby toys. It’s an agreement between the two.
  21. Once you start the “trading game” (giving your baby his cuddly panda in exchange for the mini-electric chair he created), your baby will attempt to trade you for everything.
  22. The picky eating stage can start earlier than people say. We were on a banana only kick for a few weeks.
  23. There will be foods you will no longer want to eat. For me, it is yams. Thanksgiving is going to be sad this year.
  24. Your baby will go on a food strike at some point, but will be 100% willing to eat cat fur, beetles, and basically anything else they shouldn’t eat.
  25. Your baby’s closet/dresser will actually be a laundry basket.

I’m sure there are other lessons I’ve learned. Maybe I’ll do a part two at some point this year. But for now, this is it. Take my wisdom as you will.

And remember that the most important item a parent can carry is a towel.

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