People give you a lot of advice when you are having a baby. Some of it useful, some of it…not. But there are some things that I do wish someone had mentioned, so I’m sharing them in the hopes of helping others. Truth is, it’s possible someone DID try to tell me these things but I wasn’t listening in that “everything will be perfect when it’s MY baby” haze of pregnancy. So you can roll your eyes, tell yourself things will be different for you, but do me a favour, check back in a few years and see if your perspective has changed. Deal?
1. Never say never. In fact, if you swear you’ll never do something (like, talk about poop with your friends or let your child sleep in your bed), your chances of doing exactly that have gone up exponentially. So go ahead, say never. I dare you.
2. Never buy over-the-head onesies. And never give them to people as gifts! I had to cut one off BB#1 with scissors because I couldn’t figure out how to get it over his head without smearing the diaper blowout into his hair. Related: sleepers that do up in the back and white velour sleepers are also evil (these tend to be gifts from people that don’t have children).
3. Oxy-Clean. I might have saved some of those onesies and sleepers had I known about this amazing stuff. BB#1 had to be completely changed after most BMs, and many of his outfits could not be used for BB#2, they were stained so badly. Related: I’ve heard if you fold the top of the diaper in at the back, you can stop these up-the-back blowouts (it’s worth a try, right?)
4. Kids aren’t dogs. Okay, yes, I did know this. But it didn’t register with me that so many aspects of child-raising are referred to as “training”, as if babies are pets and not people. Two biggies: Sleep training and potty training. The amazing thing about children is, they are born learners! They become independent in spite of us, not because of us. And just like they all walk and talk in their own time, they also sleep through the night (because that’s what all the fuss is about, right?) and learn to use the toilet when they are ready. You don’t really have to cause them or yourself stress to “teach” them these things. I mean honestly, would we all still be walking around in diapers if no one trained us with stickers or candy? Trust in your children. They will amaze you.
5. Tree-trunk legs. I thought I had cankles BEFORE I gave birth the first time. Turns out they were mere saplings compared to what happened AFTER. I was freaked out there was something seriously wrong with me, and called my OB. Who casually told me, oh, that’s water retention from lying in a bed for 12+ hours attached to an IV as a result of having an epidural, and the swelling would go down in oh, 4-6 WEEKS. You think someone might have warned me about this. Now, this was not the reason I did not have an epidural for my second birth, but it was a consideration.
6. Slip on boots and shoes. I figured this one out after getting myself all bundled up, strapping on my baby, and then realizing I couldn’t bend over to tie up my winter boots. Okay I suppose you could remember to put your shoes on first, before your baby, but sometimes you have to go back for something, and then there’s the whole issue of UN-tying them with the baby in the carrier when you get back. Make it easier on yourself, get slip-ons.
7. It goes so fast. Oh wait. Everyone told me this. If you are pregnant or have very young kids, they’re telling you this too. But I probably wasn’t listening, and chances are, you aren’t either. I’m not trying to trivialize those moments where you feel like crying, those hours you keep checking the clock to see if your partner will be home soon, or those days you can’t wait until bedtime. I’ve been there, oh how I’ve been there. Some of those moments seemed like ForEver. Then I turned around and my babies weren’t babies, they weren’t even toddlers or preschoolers. They were eight and five. And, wow. It really did go so fast.