This week B turns 15 months old! I was thinking about a couple of posts I wrote when I was pregnant with Baby B, 25 things at 25 weeks, and 39 things at 39 weeks. And I’ve been reflecting lately on what I’ve learned about motherhood now that I have over a year of mothering under my belt. It’s only a year, but I feel like I’ve learned a lot, and grown as a person in more ways than I can articulate here. But I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned.
1) Always carry a Tide pen. I am serious about this.
2) Motherhood = Choose which eye you’d like to have mascara on, and which leg you’d like to shave today (at least for a while).
3) Too many parenting books stresses me out. But I do need to read at least a few well-chosen parenting books, enough to keep me creative and thinking. So far I have read approximately two (Simplicity Parenting, by Kim John Payne, half of Parent Trek by Jeanne Zimmerly Jantzi, and just started the wonderful Playful Parenting by Leonard Cohen (thanks to my dear friend at Sweet and Arch).).
4) Babies + food = mess. We may as well just face facts. I think I had some illusion that I would be able to keep the mess to a minimum. Not so, my friends. My kid is just as messy as the rest of em.
5) And speaking of mess and stains, if anything works better than Shout, I’d like to know about it.
6) A light heart goes a long way. Insofar and we can keep our parenting light and humorous, we are a happier family. This goes for messes, sleeping/not sleeping, screaming in the car, broken snow globes, unraveled yarn skeins, and the odd runaway turd.
7) It pays to be That Prepared Mom. You do not want to get caught in an impromptu restaurant experience with no squeezable applesauce. Or bandaids. Or the Tide Pen (see #1). Or heaven forbid you don’t have Sophie the giraffe.
8 ) It pays to have an endless repertoire of songs to sing. This way you don’t have to sing “This Old Man” up to 100 on car rides. This Old Man, he played ninety-nine, he played knick-knack on the shiny pines… it just doesn’t work, friends.
9) It also pays to have some go-to songs for key times in the day. The Waldorf folks have me convinced that this is good parenting, and we have a song for pretty much everything: teeth brushing, church-going, bath-taking, cleaning up, falling asleep, you name it. But at any given moment, we may be singing silly made-up songs, too. Like the New Dipe song, which is as follows: New dipes, new dipes, new dipes for you, dear….
10) That dream I had, the one about only having beautiful, handmade toys made out of quality natural materials, lovely to look at and inspiring to play with….it has worked out about half as well as I’d hoped. It’s a process. People give you things and you’re grateful, you know.
11) I thought I could never countenance the use of disposable bibs when we’re out and about. How wasteful, How un-ecological, I thought. But I do. Because I can’t remember to wash the regular ones and get them back into the diaper bag. So I keep a stash of disposables in the bag. In my case, a disposable bib is better than no bib. See item #4.
12) Another thing the Waldorf-ers have me convinced of: babies need undershirts, socks, and hats. Unless it’s summer in Texas. After B was born, our midwife would come over and say: “She needs an undershirt.” and “Where is her hat?” And I took the lesson to heart. B still wears an undershirt daily, and a hat if it’s cooler than 70. My baby is calmer and happier if she’s warm.
13) If you like your diaper bag, then your life is better. Some days I feel like stinking Mary Poppins with the bag. But really, it’s an item you carry with you every day. You want to like it when you see it and use it.
14) The hours between her bedtime and ours are precious. We love our child and we give our everything to her during her waking hours. A set, early bedtime, and the adult time it provides, are necessary for us.
15) Bubbles make the world a better place.