So, it’s been nearly a year of parenting for us. We’ve gone from blank slates to feeling like we may know a thing or two about how things are done (and still have a lot more to learn!). Here’s a list of some things that come to mind that have stood out as important lessons/realizations over the past year…
1. Don’t tell people the due date…tell them at least 1 week later. In hindsight, we wish we had known this sooner. With a baby that decided not to even think about heading out into the world until a week later, and a labor that lasted 2 days beyond that, it was pretty darn irritating for people to keep calling to basically see if “you’re still pregnant?” Better to just keep the real due date to yourselves.
2. Don’t tell people the name. You might have the best name picked out in the whole world…but if you don’t want feedback on it, don’t tell people what it is. We are so happy we didn’t tell a single soul. Even when we were admitted to the hospital and they wanted a name for his bracelet before he was born, we insisted on “Baby Boy” [last name]. People have a lot less to say about the name once it’s on the birth certificate.
3. There is no need to stock up on toys. You may think you need the latest Fischer Price gadget or Einstein Baby musical headache-inducing toy, but really, your baby will be just as happy….no, more happy to play with the following: boxes, remote controls, flatware, cups, lids, containers, pillows, books, their own feet, water, cell phones, paper, towels, wrapping paper rolls, snot sucker, diapers, etc. In fact, you may try your best to offer the newest $50 thing you bought, and your child may still insist on playing with the package it came in.
4. Save every original box and receipt, for EVERYTHING. We cannot stress this enough. We have returned diapers in sizes he grew out of, carriers that didn’t work well, a jumper, unused bottle nipples, and so on. I don’t care what it is you just picked up from Babies R Us, put that receipt in a safe place for a few months.
5. You know not to compare your child to every other child but you will anyway. You may have the best sleeper/eater/talker/mobile child in the world, but if they’re not [insert skill here] like your friend’s kid is, you may start wondering why. Unless you truly have reason to be concerned, don’t sweat it…your kid will get there. They will.
6. You may or may not keep to your original parenting plans- you end up doing what works. You may set out to breastfeed for a year, to cloth diaper, to never touch a drop of formula, to co-sleep, to keep the tv off, or to do the opposite of everything I just said, but sometimes these things may not work out like you expect. Parenthood is about rolling with the punches. Goals are great to have, but if you hold yourself too strictly to them, you may end up feeling like a failure when all you’re doing is trying to stay afloat.
7. Stock up! I’m talking about mylecon, gripe water, tylenol, ibuprofin, pedialyte, benadryl, and at least 2 types of diaper paste. You never know when you’re going to need those or what’s going to work, and if your child spikes a fever or a rash at 3am, the last thing you’re going to want to do is find a 24-hour drug store. On that note…
8. Your child will get fevers that scare the shit out of you. That first fever is a very scary thing. So is seeing a number like 103 or 105(!) on a rectal thermometer. Remember, fevers are the body’s natural way of fighting off illness. The most important thing is- how is your child acting? Curly has had high fevers but still ate well, slept well, and kept on playing. And the fevers responded to tylenol/ibuprofin. But listlessness and dehydration –> get thee to a doctor.
9. Sunshine makes stains disappear. It’s a miracle. Seriously, I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. If you run poop-stained clothing through the washing machine and put them in direct sunlight to dry, the stains magically disappear. Speaking of poop…
10. You will constantly talk about baby poop, as well as be fascinated and humbled by it. At some point, you will find yourself having a nice dinner with other friends who are parents, and all of a sudden you will be talking about the color and texture of your kid’s poop, as well as regaling each other with tales of blow-outs that rendered you speechless. It’s a whole new world.
11. You will not matter anymore. Only the baby. Gone are the days when your family and relatives cared about you. Now it’s “How’s the baby?” and “What’s the baby up to?” and “When can I come visit (the baby)?” Shocking but true.
12. The baby clothing market is irritating. Baby clothes get more gendered as they go up in size, girl baby clothes are full of ruffles and lace and pleating and puffy sleeves, and they stop making certain very convenient articles of clothing the bigger children get, such as onesies, rompers, and footed pajamas. Baby clothing would be just as convenient for non-potty trained or non-walking toddlers, and yet the world of clothes changes drastically after size 18 months.
13. Babyhood will go by quicker than you can possibly imagine.
Got anything you want to add to this list? Or have any questions you’d like to ask re: the first year? We’d love to hear!