So this is nominally a little late, but I figure six months is the perfect time to look back on new parenthood and reflect. At six months old, our son Dashiell has hit all his developmental milestones, is perfectly healthy, and is now almost a little person, just one who hasn’t figured out talking and walking yet! Here are some things I want to remember, and maybe some other people will glean some wisdom from:
- Ears, hair, and beards make great handholds, especially for a child the doctors describe as ‘amazingly strong’. Bear this in mind while deciding on a carrying position.
- Always choose to make the second trip. Or even a third. Trust me. It seems like that will take longer than just one, but any trip involving carrying a wriggling, babbling baby will require both hands at some point, and I guarantee the clean-up will take longer than the multiple trips!
- Get a splash shield for your face before venturing into solid (read ‘not even a little solid, so it’s really easy to squirt/spit/splash/flick/dribble’) food. ‘Nuff said.
- Learn to meditate. Even five minutes a day will keep you from breaking down in tears when things get bad.
- It does not serve to even think about why or how what’s just come out of your baby looks or smells the way it does. You think I’m joking. I’m not. This will be something you wonder about. A lot.
- Baby drool. Learn to love it. You’ll be bathing in it.
- If you’ve never been kicked in the short-ribs or punched in the eyeball, throat, or tongue, you’re in for a treat!
- A full-grown human adult cannot out-annoy a human infant. They have more will-power and energy than seems possible, and look at your efforts as idle amusements. A full ten minutes of exclaiming, “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” will likely render you incapable of speech for a day, but it will not even phase your infant, except possibly as an encouragement to yell even more between giggles. Not that I’ve tried this…
- I say this as someone who waited until late in life to become a parent specifically so he could go out in the world and experience everything he could before “settling down”. There is literally (and I literally mean ‘literally’, in the literal sense) no better feeling in the whole, wide world than that you experience in the moments just after your baby falls asleep clutching himself to your chest.