My little girl is days away from becoming a big sister. It’s amazing how quickly I’ve forgotten–blocked out?–certain things, like how all those effing pieces of the Dr. Brown’s bottles go together. But there are a few lessons I’ve retained from my experience with Ellie the Infant that I hope to apply to her brother. Here goes:
1. Enjoy the small stuff rather than sweat it.
2. Put the baby down. He’ll be fine while you take a pee/e-mail/shower break.
3. Pick the baby up. When he’s an eye-rolling teen asking to be dropped off a block away from school, you’ll wish you had held him more when he let you.
4. Stand a little to the side when changing his diaper. Standing in the line of fire ensures a direct hit, especially if you’re wearing white.
5. Don’t wear white.
6. Go to the mall. Often. Before he can walk and take Tiffany & Co. glasses off the racks by the handful at LensCrafters.
7. Let the magazines pile up. They’ll still be there when he’s on a schedule and you can concentrate.
8. Let the dust pile up. Perhaps use the piles of magazines to hide it.
9. Don’t be such a germaphobe.
10. If spit-up, vomit, poop, pee, and snot in places other than where they belong don’t faze you, neither should food thrown or dropped on the floor. Coordination is a learned skill. Deal with it.
11. When dealing with bugs, act cool. Unless the bug is a roach or bee. Then feel free go ape.
12. Be his parent, not his buddy.
13. Try your best and know that some days you will lose your patience, yell, or otherwise not set a good example.
14. Get off the hovercraft before it crashes and burns you and/or the kids. Children are capable of doing more for themselves than we (OK, I) give them credit for.
15. Take music and movement classes together for the bonding and fun of it.
16. Don’t eat his leftovers unless it’s a fruit or veggie.
17. When it feels overwhelming, remember that every stage is just that–temporary.
18. Remember that every stage is temporary and savor each one because something else more wonderful–and likely more challenging–is coming.