Today is my birthday. I remember nearly every moment of my birthday last year, just waiting for sweet Bonnie to arrive (here’s the post I wrote that day… about waiting!) Since in three days, she and I will have safely and successfully made it to the one-year mark (by “successfully,” I mean that no one has been seriously injured in any way, and she seems to be thriving in every way, even in light of my many mistakes,) I thought I’d share a list of things I’ve learned over the past 365 days.
Lessons Bonnie has taught me are woven throughout most of this past year’s blog posts, but today’s list is a list of practical lessons she’s taught me that could be applicable and helpful to any new or soon-to-be, or hoping-to-be mom:
1) Expensive baby toys are not worth the investment, in most cases. Used toys are so easily accessible, and if you aren’t comfortable with buying a particular toy used, maybe just re-think getting that particular toy altogether. In our case, more often than not, Bonnie has loved the most random toys (or household items that aren’t technically toys,) like her used, $10 jump-up, but not cared much for things we thought she’d love, like this walker that was given to us before Bonnie was born.
Plus, other people will surprise you with gifts like clothing and toys for you baby… so just let them! That way you can focus on necessities, and maybe even some higher dollar items that you may not be able to count on others getting for you.
2) A nice rocker/glider and ottoman are absolutely worth it! We waited until Bonnie was eight months old before investing in a nice rocker, and practically speaking, this is one of my biggest regrets… I wish we’d had it from day 1! We bought ours from BuyBuy baby, where we were able to combine coupons with a sale. Because the ottoman was so expensive, we only got the chair. If our next frozen transfer works though, my single “big” purchase for Baby #2 will be the matching ottoman. I tried it out at the store, and it was heavenly.
3) A nice stroller or travel system is also worth it! We learned this the hard way after going through multiple strollers that neither Bonnie nor I liked. We finally purchased the City Select Jogger, which also turns into a double stroller with the addition of a click in seat. We got the second seat for free (a $170 value) when the store we purchased from was running a promotion.
We wasted a significant amount of money on strollers that we ended up consigning, either because Bonnie would not tolerate sitting in them, or because I could not handle pushing them, or both. She has literally never fussed about being put in the City Select. I can finally go on walks again without battling a fussy baby!
4) You might end up spending more money on sippy cups than you ever imagined. It seems like we’ve tried every cup under the sun (an exaggeration, but only slightly.) We finally found one that she does okay with (this one), and one that she LOVES (this one.)
*If you save the original sippy cup boxes and paperwork, some kids’ consignment stores will take them. You obiously aren’t getting a 100% return on your investment, but at least you get something for the 20 sippy cups you bought that your child refuses to go near.*
5) Sleep training is absolutely NOT a one-time thing, because even for a “well-trained” baby, sleep regression is real! Babies have so much going on in their tiny brains and bodies, and they aren’t machines or robots that you can perfectly program. This means that sleep training is hard at 5 months, at 9 months, and at 12 months, but regardless, it is 100% worth it. It is a wonderful lesson for Bonnie, teaching her that Mom is in charge of nap times. But it is also a wonderful lesson in discipline for me. Because let me tell you, it does not come naturally at all.
But a lot of motherhood does not come naturally. A lot of it does, but a lot doesn’t. For instance, when Bonnie fights me while I’m trying to diaper or clothe her, I hate having to hold her down and give her a firm “no.” I’d rather let her stay naked. Or when she is fussing for more food at snack time, when I know she doesn’t need it. I’d love to just give her food. But that is not what is best for her. What’s best for her is that she learn to accept the answer, “no,” and to respect those around her. When she takes a toy from one of the babies I keep, I’d like to just let her play with it, but instead, I tell her “no,” and “share.” When she grabs our dog’s tail and won’t let go, I secretly think it is beyond cute, but really, it is a perfect time to teach her “gentle.”
Sleep training has been such a good lesson for me in how to train her in so many other areas, and it has reinforced the importance of discipline, consistency, and routine.
6) Breastfeeding is AWESOME, but having a baby/toddler who is weaned is fun too! And weaning wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. It was emotional, but Bonnie took to it so well, and she is an incredible eater. Meal and snack times have also taught me the importance of discipline and structure. And feeding Bonnie has given me a renewed appreciation for wholesome, healing, and nourishing foods.
7) Time passes far too quickly for it to be wished away. Bonnie will be a year old in three days. This does not make me sad; it just makes me wonder where the time went.
There are so many more things I could add to this list. She’s taught me more about life than I could have possibly imagined a baby could teach. And she’s taught me so much about love. She reminds me each time I look at her of God’s grace and His hand in the lives of His children.