In 2016, I became a mom to a gorgeous, amazing, feisty, adventurous little girl. A lot of people told me that the birthing part was the least of my concerns and that the first 100 days would in fact be far more difficult. They were oh so right. The first 100 days may be the most tiring, but the rest of the first year makes up for them. This "job" is my favorite one yet. In celebration of my daughter's first birthday being over two weeks ago, I thought I'd share some of my silliest mom moments / mistakes / embarrassing truths from my first year of being a parent. And obviously no judgement if you have similar new parent stories.
1) Poop Range
I heard countless stories about getting sprayed with pea, especially when it comes to changing boy's diapers, but I never knew that this can also happen with poop. Let's just say the worst incident involved Adeline sneezing, an open diaper, and a face being too close to the wrong end.
2) The Breathing Check
This is another one of those parenting quirks you don't think will apply to you (until it does). I still remember waking up in the middle of the night to check on Adeline in the bassinet beside our bed, and sneaking into our room during the day to stare at her chest and make sure she was breathing. The worst was probably once we transitioned her into the crib in her own room. There were definitely one too many times that I quietly tiptoed into her room just to insure she was okay, even though I could see her on the monitor perfectly fine. Ah the breathing check.
3) The World Wide Web
When your child seems a little more whiny than usual or gets their first runny nose, the last thing you should do is search their symptoms online. I think my most stressful online search was actually about clogged milk ducts though. One site recommended pumping a little, another would threaten in all caps not to pump because that tells your body to produce more milk. I was starting to hyperventilate and freak about mastitis when Keith gently reminded me that I had a lactation consultant's phone number. This is where professionals come in handy. Contact your own lactation consultant, postpartum doula, family doctor, pediatrician, chiropractor, etc. Stay off the internet.
4) Not Accepting Help when Offered
We hired a postpartum doula to help in the first month of being home with a newborn, since we don't live in the same state as any of our family. I wound up using her so little that she actually didn't hold me to the contracted hours initially agreed on. I never even took her up on her offer of taking Adeline for a walk so I could catch up on sleep. Oh man, do I wish I could use those hours sometimes now.
5) Providing Constant Entertainment
The first six months of Adeline's life, I was convinced that she needed constant stimulation, interaction, entertainment, etc. I would get down on the floor and talk to her about everything, regularly move her from one activity to the next. I slowly started to realize that she was actually capable of entertaining herself and engaging in activities much longer than I expected from a baby. I've read more up on this philosophy over the past few months, and it's so much more enjoyable parenting during the day now. We can go to the park, have a picnic, and I read a book while she stacks her blocks, stares at leaves or grass blowing in the wind, tries to eat leaves on the ground, etc. At home, she explores the living room, pulls every toy out of her small toy basket, flips through her picture books, empties her diaper bag, laughs at herself in the mirror. I sit nearby keeping a watchful eye, but allow her to enjoy her surroundings and independence.
6) Worrying about Milestones
I definitely may have encouraged her to sit up earlier than Adeline was ready. It was just so darn cute to prop her up on the bed or couch, but it was also completely unnecessary. Now I'm more of the mindset that she'll do it when she's ready. I'm excited for more regular walking and more words too, but I also understand better now that more words = the sooner I'll start hearing no in response to everything.
7) Eating Dirt (and other things...)
If you follow me on Instagram, then you won't be surprised to hear that I took SO many baby photos this year. And due to my constant photo taking (I'm trying to be better this new year), there may have been a few close calls and dirty mouths thanks to my being distracted behind the camera. There were several times I was taking a photo at the park where Adeline managed to grab a handful of dirt or grass and I'd have to drop the phone and attempt to wipe all the dirt out of her mouth, but the worst incident was with a bug. I still don't know what kind of bug it was, but I was taking a photo of her standing against the wall and the next second she was chewing something she found on the wall. I managed to get out a tiny head. The rest was digested. Protein, right?
8) Date Night
Keith and I agreed that we would go on at least one date night each month once the baby was born. Our first ever date night, Keith's parents watched Adeline when she was six weeks old, we ate at a restaurant across the street, and were back in less than a hour. The worst date night incident though was our first time using a non-family member as a sitter. She was professional and kind, but Adeline had a really tough time going to sleep and we basically had to lay her down upset and rush out the door to make our reservation. The entire first hour I was stressing that she was awake screaming at home, and the sitter didn't return either of my two anxious parent texts "just checking in". Keith and I barely spoke over dinner, because I was so stressed out, and we hurried home as soon as we finished. Adeline had been asleep the entire time. The sitter just hadn't noticed my texts. The next time we went out, we set up a wifi-enabled monitor and were able to check on her ourselves, every ten minutes or so (and sent no anxious texts to the sitter). Ah new parenthood.
9) Cabbage Leaves
All I'll say is I totally tried this for an entire week after Adeline weaned. It might just be an old wives tale, and I'm not sure how much it actually helped, but it does feel kind of nice. :-)
10) Bathtime Fun
A week or so ago, I managed to get in a pretty strenuous living room workout while Adeline sweetly played with her toys beside me (not always the case). Adeline has recently transitioned to one afternoon nap, and since I really didn't want to delay a shower for several hours, I decided we could take a bath together for me to clean up. It was going great until she tried to eat the bar soap and got upset when I took it away. She stood up in the bath, loudly crying, and then peed all over me. So my "smart" idea turned into an afternoon shower anyway.
In this year of Firsts, I've learned a lot, especially how to be more forgiving of myself, ask for help when needed, and worry a little less about all of the what ifs. In January, Adeline celebrated her first birthday, Keith attended his first film festival premiere of a film he edited, and I participated in my first Women's March. Hope your New Year is off to a great start with a fresh slate for all kinds of silly mistakes and learning opportunities!