Tuesday, December 4, 2012
That’s exactly the path my husband and I set out on nearly five years ago with the birth of our first son. We heard all the general advice and tucked it away in case of emergency, but for the most part raising Max has been nothing but trial and error. Neither of us really knew what we were doing when we started and we really don’t know how we’re going to face the coming years with him, but we know everything will turn out fine. You only make some mistakes once.
In an effort of cutting down the learning curve for some, I have compiled this list of the top 5 things I have learned since becoming a Mom. I hope they help you – and I’m sure my son will have plenty more to teach me as the years go on.
1. It’s okay to play Peek A Boo with a baby, but not while they’re eating. If you make a baby laugh while they’re eating they can choke. This I’ve heard. But what I learned the hard way is if you make a baby laugh too hard, they’ll throw up on you. Projectile. And that can really ruin a good meal – and a nice outfit.
2. Your child will roam the house in the middle of the night. Seriously, this is a thing. As soon as those side rails are off the bed, even the sweetest, most rule-abiding child out there will take it upon themselves to get up in the middle of the night and roam so make sure the house is child proof before going to bed. Don’t leave an iPad where they can reach it or, say, a half of a pizza on the kitchen counter in arm’s length. If you do, you’re likely to wake up to a sick child who has left small marinara fingerprints all over your iPad.
3. Toddlers obsess over things and that’s okay. Just because your little one is obsessed with a certain toy, or trains, or keys, it doesn’t mean they’re going to have a weird complex when they grow up. Use those obsessions to help your child learn things. If they love keys, then use keys to help them learn to count. The obsession will go away, but they’ll always remember the counting part of it!
4. Toddlers LOVE choices. My pediatrician told me about this one and it has been one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. You don’t want to overwhelm them so stick with two choices. Would you like soup or chicken nuggets? But this can help you in all sorts of situations. If you are in a rush and trying to get out the door, but your child doesn’t want to leave the house, you can say “We can skip to the car or hop to the car. Which do you want to do?” It works every time. Your neighbors might think there’s something wrong with you as you hop out to your driveway, but you just might make it to your destination on time!
5. While playing with your child, never hide things in your shirt. I know this might sound weird, but during playtime, it can seem funny to put a ball under your shirt and say to an adorable toddler, “Have you seen your ball?” They’ll just laugh and laugh. But, what you won’t see coming is a few days later when you’re out to dinner with friends, your toddler might decide to see what else could be hiding in your shirt and pull it up in the middle of a restaurant. Trust me, it makes for a pretty awkward dinner.
What would make your list of the top things you’ve learned since becoming a parent?
Aleshia Howe is the communications specialist for Texas Health Foundations and mom to 4-year-old Max and 11-month-old Jack.