What I’ve learned in my eleven months of hanging out with a baby

Babies are not the delicate creatures that the world would have you believe. I have no clue how the got that dangerous reputation because I’ve got battle marks from dealing with my precious bundle: bite marks and scratch marks are just the start. A few minutes ago I got head butted. They kick, they pull hair, they pack a mean punch! I am warning you, watch out!

If you are a creative listener, babies are excellent communicators. In my experience they don’t cry for nothing. At first, when you first take one home you go through the same list every single time you hear a cry:

1) hunger
2) diaper
3) environmental (too hot / too cold / too much stimulation)
4) tiredness …
I found that often times, if I was watching closely, I could decypher what my baby wanted before it turned into a full-blown cry. He literally looked at my chest when he was hungry. He rubbed his eyes when he was tired. It isn’t always this simple, but your baby will try to subtly communicate before resorting to ‘whole room head turning’ cry.

Babies are optimists, always looking for the next laugh. My baby loves trying out his chortle. Usually all it takes is a peek around a corner, or a tickle as you pull his shirt over his head. It’s fun for him and every time I hear his laugh it melts my heart. Well, almost every time. We are still working on ‘NO.’ Right now that word means laugh and do it again. I’m not sure why, but I also don’t see this changing anytime soon, so creative re-direction is often key for my sanity (and the well-being of ornery animals, laptops connected to wires, and other hilariously fun dangers we have around the house).

As soon as you think you’ve got a baby figured out they go and start teething, or learn to shimmy across the floor or something and the game totally changes. Parenting books don’t have a chance to get dusty during the first few years. This reminds me of parenting philosophy I read somewhere recently and am now grossly misquoting: babies are babies for two years, kids till eighteen and adults the rest of their lives. Raise your kids to be adults you’d be proud of. Kids grow up faster than you realize, but what they learn along the way has a lasting result. I guess what I am trying to say is enjoy each phase. When your baby squiggles in your arms, favoring to get down and shimmy you’ll miss the times you spent holding his head up.

Babies are relatively easy to clean, so go ahead and let them get dirty, they will tire out and be happier all around. My baby is currently sporting a line of soup under his right eye from where he got hit with a lunch spoon. I think he looks cute like a little football player.

Diaper changes, once they start solids, turn a new disgusting chapter and that’s why God gave babies two parents. 🙂

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