He's discovering the world and everything in it at a rapid pace, and as his primary caregiver I get to help him experience that world. But it's not just him that's learning in our time together--my son has taught me 5 very important things that I want to share with you.
The Top 5 Things My 5 Month Old Has Taught Me
1. When you're upset you should let people know.
This seems obvious--but really, how often are we upset or frustrated about something (or at someone!) and rather than express our feelings we keep it bottled up inside? This isn't healthy for us emotionally or mentally, and it leads to further problems down the road when it does finally surface. Since the boy-o is still trying to figure the world out (and his own limbs for that matter!) he gets frustrated easily some days, and he's not afraid to show it! He knows that when he lets his frustration out someone will comfort him. Why are we so afraid of letting other people know we're having a rough go? When did it become unacceptable to ask for help? Taking a cue from the boy-o I'm trying to be more aware of my emotions and what I'm feeling so that I can share those feelings with others.
2. Trying new foods is an adventure that we should look forward to.
The older we get the more stuck in our ways we become. There are certain foods that I WILL NOT eat. Some of them are foods I've tried recently and confirmed I still dislike (squash!), and some are foods that I haven't had in ages because "I don't like them." On several occasions though I've forced myself to re-try some of these foods that "I don't like" only to discover they are in fact delicious and that I could have been eating them ages ago! (like asparagus!) There are also foods I'll turn my nose up at before I even take a bite because I've convinced myself it's something I won't like. Why is that?? We've just started the boy-o on solids and so far he's had sweet potato, avocado, apples, rice cereal and now pumpkin. He's approached every one of those foods as something delicious to eat that he can't wait to try! His willingness to launch into any food I offer him is inspiring and I hope to portray a more open mind to new foods in the future so that he's more likely to maintain his openness too!
3. Sometimes a quiet cuddle is all we need.
It's amazing how much a quiet cuddle can improve your outlook on the world. Everyone is so busy these days and the amount of quality time we get to spend with our loved ones is short and infrequent. It's easy to get burned out with all the daily demands that we face. I've learned from my son though that sometimes a quiet cuddle is all that it takes to help us recharge and help us face the wide world again! There's something almost profound that occurs during the cuddling process that sets off those "happy endorphins" and lets us know that someone has our back when we need it.
4. We should all be excited by the reflection we see in the mirror.
I'm sure that most of you have seen the reaction of a baby who has seen themselves in the mirror--it's one of sheer joy! (often accompanied with wide smiles and shrieking!) Why do we lose that?? When was the last time you saw yourself in the mirror and shrieked with excitement?! Or even had a big smile? And let's face it, it's hard to be goofier looking than a baby--but they don't care, because they are enthralled with their own image. They love looking at themselves because when they see themselves they aren't thinking about their knobby knees, or their chubby thighs, or their little pot belly... they just see a face smiling back at them and it makes them happy. It's simple really! I try to take this advice to heart and I'm re-learning to love the person I see in the mirror staring back at me. Partly because I want to the boy-o to grow up knowing that whoever he sees looking back at him is worth smiling at, and partly because I want to experience that sense of Joy in myself too.
5. Napping is a wonderful thing.
Now, I've always loved napping. So this isn't really something new that I've learned, but it has been reinforced (and has at least partly convinced my husband who hates napping!) I can say however that there are few feelings as wonderful as napping with your baby cuddled up on your chest asleep. It's a beautiful bonding moment, it builds trust, and it encourages you to nap when your baby does. The boy-o is getting less content to nap on people and it makes me sad to know that our group napping days are numbered and to cherish every minute left of those times. Whether napping together or just napping in general putting him to sleep several times a day has really reminded me about how much sleep we as adults need, and that most of us don't get anywhere near the recommended amount! Even though we're happier, function better, and are more productive when we get enough sleep many of us don't. One way to help combat that lack of sleep is to grab a nap here and there when the opportunity arises. It offers us a chance to recharge and gives us the opportunity to take on the rest of the day from a new perspective. The boy-o certainly feels better after he's had a long nap, and I know I do too!
I hope that as I continue to teach the boy-o about the world that I continue to learn from him too. Sometimes true wisdom comes in tiny packages!