A list of thoughts from my twelfth month of being a mother.
Why are F’s and V’s interchangeable? Twelve. Twelfth. Roof. Rooves. Hoof. Hooves. Also, twelfth is one of the most cumbersome words in the English language.
And I’ve recently realized I want people around me to feel important. Whether that’s my co-worker or checkout lady at Target or kid working the McDonalds drive thru. I want them to feel valued and seen and appreciated. I think a large part of this is because I always want Leo to feel this way. When she’s a 7 year old talking about her favorite doll, I want people to listen and make her feel like her passions are important. When she’s 16 and waitressing I want people to make her feel appreciated for the work she’s doing for them. We’re so quick (myself included here) to make other people feel small, to ignore them, to criticize what they’re doing if it inconveniences us or isn’t what we think it should be. And I don’t want Leo to A) act like that or B) experience that from other people.
Vacuuming takes on a whole new importance with a curious crawler. She has an incredible ability to find the smallest, most dangerous things and immediately put them in her mouth. If I don’t vacuum, who knows what she’d eat. I’m no longer cleaning for appearances, I’m cleaning to save her life.
Being a mom gives you lots of new empathy. Every person is “someone’s baby,” even the rude or irritating or crazy ones. And I wonder what happened in their life to make them turn out the way they did and if it was their parents’ fault and if I can avoid doing whatever their parents did or did not do.
Leo has started dancing and it’s hilarious. Every time music comes on she “dances” which mostly looks like her thrashing and flailing her arms. She even gets excited when she hears Alexa’s voice, because that means music is coming. Her current favorite songs to dance to are Pachabel’s Canon and the Mangum PI theme song.
Taking Leo out in public has made me realize how powerful she is. One smile from her can make someone’s day. And it occurred to me that we’re all really that powerful and I want Leo to know that and act accordingly. Everything we say has the potential to make someone’s day or ruin it. That’s a LOT of power to be walking around with and I hope she uses hers wisely.
Leo has an amazing sense of humor. How does that happen? How do babies know when things are funny? And like, innately. She knows things are funny that we’ve never taught her or done in front of her. But she knows! It’s amazing.
Leo can hold a grudge like nobody’s business. If she has my phone and I take it away she cries and looks angrily at me for like, 20 minutes afterwards. Even if she’s playing with someone else, she’l remember what I did and look back at me and start crying again.
Sometimes Leo giggles for no reason, she’ll just be sitting there and she’ll make herself laugh and it’s awesome. Baby giggles are the best sound.
I used to judge people for throwing big first birthday parties for their babies. They’re babies, they don’t know/care what’s happening. But I realized you don’t throw the party to celebrate the baby, you throw the party to celebrate that you kept the baby alive for 12 months. That’s definitely worth a party.
My Timehop has pictures of her now and I don’t know how I feel about it. It’s weird. But fun. Also sad.
What I say to Leo and how I talk to her and around her is so much more important now. Even though she doesn’t talk, I know she knows what I’m saying pretty much all the time. That’s a LOT of pressure.
Leo loves ears. Her ears, my ears, your ears, probably. Sometimes she’ll push my face over to the side so she can play with my ears. She’s such a weirdo.
She knows exactly which buttons to push on her toys to make noise. How does she know that? Cause and effect isn’t a concept I think she should know yet.
Food on my plate is 100 times more delicious than the food on her plate, apparently. Also, every piece of food we give her is inherently suspicious and should be examined thoroughly before consuming. However, any food on my plate should be eaten immediately and without thought.
I really want to know what she’s thinking. She makes so many fascinating choices. But WHY?
I’m learning to be very careful with how we talk about food to and around Leo. I don’t think we always realize how big of an impact our words have. The way we (as a society) talk about food really sets us all up to have such weird relationships with it. I’m really hoping to help Leo avoid as much of that as possible.
Noisy toys don’t bother me as much as I thought they would. Those songs are pretty catchy.
Isn’t it weird that women wear makeup? I mean I do it, don’t get me wrong, no judgment here. But it’s weird. Like, all of society tells us our face isn’t ok the way it is and it needs to be different. If that’s not the definition of sexism I don’t know what is. I saw a quote the other day that said “Pretty is not the rent you pay to exist in the world as a woman.” And this is a sentiment I want Leo to know and believe. If you WANT to dress up or wear make up or whatever, go for it! But never feel like you HAVE to, you don’t owe anyone “prettiness.”
I’ve hated breastfeeding for the past 11 1/2 months. But now that it’s ok to stop, I realized I don’t want to, mainly because in the morning it means she lies in bed with me and nurses while I sleep for an extra 20 minutes. And those extra 20 minutes of sleep are worth breastfeeding once or twice a day. For now.
My absolute best advice to anyone with kids: baby proof your house. It is SO much more mentally exhausting to have to follow around your baby or always keep an eye on them because there are things they could hurt themselves with or constantly be telling them “no”. We have a few rooms in our house where we know she can’t get into anything dangerous and it is SO nice to be able to get things done (*cough* watch Magnum PI *cough* ) and know that she can play, build her independence, and be completely safe.
Leo is the best. And I love her SO much. Everything she does is magical to me. Rationally, I know she is doing the same things every other baby does, but when she does it it’s so much more amazing than other babies. Parental bias is a very real thing.