On Sunday we went to church and left Moo in the toddlers’ room during the service.
When we picked her up, the volunteers in the room told us that another little girl had gotten hurt and M was first on the scene to pat her head and give her a hug.
My mommy-heart LITERALLY burst.
Later that afternoon I held M and told her that my absolute favorite feedback regarding her isn’t about intellect or beauty- it’s about her generosity and kindness. I think it might’ve gone over her 16 month old head, but whatever.
Then, that evening during a bedtime tantrum, Moo smacked my face repeated and slashed me with her Wolverine-like nails.
So all of that to say, you win some and you lose some.
Hope everyone had a very Happy Easter / weekend and my tale of Dr. Jekly and Mr(s). Moo reminds you that there are great and terrible moments in every 24 hour period. Bank the good ones and keep Neosporin on hand for the bad.
I use Instagram for three things: keeping up with all of you (& my non-blog friends), inspiration for my Animal Crossing island (#nerdalert), and parenting information.
Let’s hone in on that last one.
Recently I started following some new (child) sleep experts and questioning every single thing I’ve done for M and her sleep habits. (Fear not- I question my parenting every hour of every day. All parents do…) It got me thinking… when it comes to parenting, advice and research is thrown at you from every direction.
Let’s think about a generic law. You show up to a store at 6:17pm and try the handle, only to find it locked. You notice that they closed at 6pm. What do the laws of the land dictate? You shrug your shoulders, turn around, and try another day. Breaking in would be wrong.
Ok… same situation, but apply the rules of parenting. Door is locked. Well… some experts would suggest you jiggle the handle. Try tickling or stroking the keyhole to inducing unlocking. Or you might try talking to the door about why it’s locked and whether or not it thinks that’s a good idea. If you’re more hands on, you might spank the door or shatter its glass to teach the door a lesson in defying you. Try putting the door in time out and return 2 minutes later to see if anything has changed. Maybe you don’t believe in locked doors. While locked doors might protect the herd, it’s not good for you and your family. You prefer open doors and plenty of sunshine. **And there are no true consequences for any approach you take.**
That is a silly example, but it’s how it feels to read conflicting parenting advice on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
“You can’t co-sleep with your kid, you’ll crush them.” // “You put your child in a crib at 4 weeks?? Do you WANT them to die from SIDS?!”
“French fries will poison your toddler.” // “You know they make jar baby food, right? You don’t have to puree like a hippie.”
“Don’t give your child peanut butter(/eggs/fish/etc.) until they’re a year old.” // “Give you baby peanut butter before 6 months to reduce allergic reacts.”
“Breast is best.” // “Fed is best.” // “Goat milk is best.” // “Formula is full of sugar.”
“You must adhere to a strict and early vaccine schedule.” // “Make sure you talk to your doctor about spreading out shots and eliminating unnecessary ones.”
You get it.
It’s exhausting. (Arbitrary rules exist in more than parenthood, but this is trench I’m stationed in right now.) Like… give me a tried and true manual and I will follow the rules. Don’t give me this “Some experts say…” bullshittery.
Also… is fussing the same as crying it out? Because I would argue no but please don’t call the baby sleep police on me.
So what do you do? I don’t know. This isn’t an advice article. I’m just as clueless as the rest of ya.
A while back Kristen commented that she goes by, “Eat the fish, spit out the bones.” I can get on board with that. So here’s my not-tested, nonexpert-approved parenting advice:
Learn who your kid is. It’s tough because babies are potatoes but as they grow and their personalities emerge, change some of your routines and activities to foster their growth (and energy and sleepy cues and hunger pangs).
That’s the best I’ve got. Also- watch out for sleep regression and one-year-molars; they’re a true b*tch. I’ve heard the two-year-molars are just as gnarly. Will report back.
Being a mom is both nothing like I thought it’d be and everything I expected. I’ve always been introspective but motherhood really brings it out in me. What else am I supposed to do while rocking a fussy baby alone in the dark at 3am…?
Here are some truths I’ve learned over the past +13 months.
These are the good ol’ days.
Yesterday, today, two weeks from now. There is some “good ol” in every day. The newborn stage wasn’t for me, but looking back we had lovely days just lounging around together (because I was too exhausted to move). M is a freaking monkey and I am dead tired by the end of the day, but when I ask for “snuggs” and she wraps her arms around me and bite-kisses me, I know I have it good. And there are so many good ol’ days to look forward to with her.
You trade one mess for another.
As I hang Moo’s clothes in her closet she sits under my feet and unpacks the bins of bows and hats. While I wash dishes in the sink she squirms in her highchair and rubs spaghetti sauce in her hair. It’s chaos and the only way through it is understanding that if you want to get anything done, you simply trade one mess in for another.
There is no good & bad- just baby.
We were so proud of ourselves for training M to sleep in her own bed. But at 4am when she just wants to be held you know what I can’t do? I can’t bring her to our bed because she thinks it’s playtime. I love that we have a super little eater but you know what she does when I have ANYTHING edible in my hand? She fusses and cries because she wants a bite. She knows where her nose is but sticks her finger in it if you ask about it. She loves the dogs but sometimes won’t leave them alone. There’s no good and bad… there’s just a baby figuring it all out.
You find a focus & you obsess.
It seems like moms fixate on one or two things. “I MUST breastfed and my worth is based on my success… We WILL follow baby led weaning to the T and we will not supplement with purees… My child NEEDS to sleep X amount of hours in the morning and X amount at night to ensure perfect REM sleep”… I’m the sleep mom. And it’s paid off, but I have been the sleep police with Moo since week 4. It’s funny how parents pick one or two areas to OBSESS over. Pay attention- because we definitely do it.
And perhaps the most bitter truth…
She will never love me as much as I love her.
It sucks having this realization. Then I realize how much my mom actually loves me. And K’s mom loves him. And really how much any half-decent mom loves their kid. And there is no possible way for that child to love their parent as much. It’s selfish to wish that she would, but dang…
And on that note…. I’m going to go scroll my phone and watch newborn videos.
What has parenthood or aunt-hood or guardian-hood taught you?
Stats: Chunky monk is 23 lbs. and over 31.5 in. long. Clothing-wise she’s slowed down a bit and we’re still hanging out in 18 months outfits. (Thank Jesus.) She’s above the 99th percentile in height, though. WOOF.
Likes: Her dad, her dogs, and her stuffed animals. She loves music and dancing, likes to watch the dogs run around inside and out, and loves having her toes eaten. Lol
Dislikes: Shots (duh), being wiped off after a meal, Mom leaving the room, and having dog toys taken away from her. She hates being restrained, too. She also refuses to leave socks/shoes on.
Sleeping: M has always been a great sleeper. We were struggling with bedtime AND staying down for the night for a few weeks, but she’s back to normal now. I think it was the 1 year sleep regression. UGH. We’re still doing 2 naps/day and I will hold on to them both as long as possible!
Eating: Our little poodle loves her noodles. She is a carb queen. She also loves avocados, eggs, meatballs, fish, and turkey. But pasta is the way to her heart.
Development: I don’t have time to list all the new things this girl can do. She does everything in her own time but once she’s got it, she’s got it. She stands, walks along furniture, walks with help, walks with her walker… but no independent walking yet. M is a MONKEY. She climbs on everything- stairs, couches, toys, humans, dogs… lol. She knows how to get up and how to use tools to get up, and she knows how to go down (“feet first!” we say over and over). She knows 4 or 5 body parts, yes and no, how to wave and clap and point and she tries to blow kisses, she signals “all done” when she’s finished a meal, she cuddles her stuffed animals, and she has mastered the colorful rings toy. She makes a million sounds, says mama dada and da (dog), and will repeat back sounds and syllables of words you say to her. She knows who people and animals are- and can tell our dogs apart by name.
Personality: I hate COVID. Moo is so much fun to hang out with and take places. I hate that we can’t go anywhere with her. She has a happy disposition and she’s way more clever than me. She’s starting to find certain things funny and she’s starting to find some things scary. I love that we’re seeing her imagination develop. Unless she’s super tired or in pain, she’s a happy happy girl .
Travel: Sigh. We have done some longer drives lately. We popped down to Cabela’s in Tridelphia, WV a few weeks ago and Maddie did great! We took her to the reverse Christmas parade our town had and she loved driving through the float displays, waving at everyone.
Mom’s Summary: It was weird to see my baby turn one. I remember everything about the day she entered this world- and it doesn’t seem that long ago. M brings joy to everyone she meets and that’s especially true for me. I’m so proud of all the things she’s learned this year and I LOVE that despite all the isolation, she’s a happy friendly adventurous little girl.
M is starting to get a feisty, head strong, clever personality. I’m looking forward to shaping her into a kind little kid 🖤 I struggled a lot with the helpless newborn stage. I am much much more cut out for the communicative and temperamental toddler stage. I know that’s weird to prefer (and maybe I’ll take it back), but I love her budding personality- even the more difficult side, lol.
Sweet Moo Baby… today is your last day being ZERO.
Last year I knew we’d be meeting you soon. We had a scheduled induction on December 4th at 8am… but at 2am you decided to start things yourself. Now that we know you, I completely understand. You’re a headstrong, determined, do-it-yourself little spirit. I love your spirit.
When we brought you home Bristol barked and growled at you. She wanted to play with you SO badly. Enzo was more than happy to cuddle up & nap all day- although I think he was quickly over the sleepless nights. But you figured out sleep quickly. And then you figure out eating. And crawling. And babbling. I love your smart little brain.
Watching you grow and learn and move has been the greatest joy of my life, babe. You bring out all the strong emotions in me- pride, love, fear, frustration, humor. You are such a clever, funny, goofy little girl. I love your personality.
You’re not one for cuddles yet, but you will sit on my lap for a few minutes of Blue’s Clues. You gentle pet and play with Bristol’s fur when you’re taking a bottle. You nuzzle your head into my neck when you’re having a rough night. You freely give me and your daddy and all the stuffed animals kisses. I think you’ve learned not to kiss the pups- it results in a mouthful of hair. I love your big, sweet heart.
Mommy and Daddy had a doozy of a first year. We learned a lot about being your parents. We picked our battles. We had little sleep and lots of help. We navigated a pandemic as new parents and, as a result, we got to spend lots and lots and lots of time with you. I will always be so thankful for that. Despite the world being upside down, you were hardly affected. I love your resilience. You are a brave, happy, incredible little soul.
Your daddy and I spent many years together without you- but this year with you has been one of our favorites. I’ve never seen him so in love with or proud of another human. You will forever be the apple of his eye, my love. I’m happy to share his heart with you ❤️
Happy Birthday, Moo-da-Lou. We love you forever and always.