On the eve of Little Fearse’s first birthday we have been reflecting on our first year as parents. It can be a really daunting time, first parenthood. There is an infinite list of things to learn, a multitude of decisions to make each moment of the day and bucket loads of guilt when you think you’ve made the wrong one. Largely, we look back on the last year and feel both proud of the person our little one is becoming and proud of each other for the parents we are also becoming. There are things we would have done differently if we had the knowledge we have now. We’re sure to make many mistakes throughout the years, but today we’re not focusing on mistakes. We want to celebrate decisions we have made as parents that we are grateful for. Of course, there is no definitive list for new parents. This is our list – these are the things that worked in this period of time, with this child, these parents and this set of circumstances.
Ten parenting decisions we are glad we have made:
- The Family Bed: The three of us sharing a bed is such an affectionate way to start and end the day. We often lie in bed and watch Little Fearse sleep and are so glad we’re not missing out on seeing her little sleep ticks and quirks. However, her kung fu practice at 3am we could do without.
- Baby Led Weaning: Following the advice of some friends we tried baby led weaning, after a couple of weeks of feeding Little Fearse mush. She took to it right away and has grown in confidence with her food so much. It has delighted us to see her enjoy family meals with us and expand her repertoire of flavours at such a great rate.
- Hiding Toys: Rotating her toys monthly has been really joyful. Seeing her little face light up as she discovers “new” old toys has been priceless. Some she has clearly remembered, others she approaches as though she’s never seen them before. This is something we plan to implement regularly well beyond BNN, as it will help us to reduce clutter and also avoid buying new toys all the time.
- Eating Together: As often as possible we eat breakfast and dinner at the table together. This gives us lots of opportunities for Mama and BP to catch up on their week and share ideas, as well as introducing Little Fearse to formal family eating. We have noticed that she will now happily stay at the table in her high chair for well over an hour when we have guests, which is pretty awesome for an active kid under one.
- Family Day Care:Changing from Child Care to Family Day Care has given us so much peace of mind. So far she has only spent four days in FDC and we can already see a difference in her demeanour. Although she still suffered some separation anxiety she stopped crying a lot sooner. Previously after a day in Child Care she spent the first hour home again day dreaming. She was totally disconnected from us. Now she comes home the same bright spark who leaves in the morning. She sees the same carer and the same kids each day. And as a bonus, it’s half the price!
- Swimming Lessons: Starting swimming lessons fairly early has meant Little Fearse has fast developed her confidence in the water. For the first few weeks she wailed when we put her head under the water, now she takes it in her stride. It’s also a really special time for BP and Little Fearse to spend together.
- Cloth Nappies: Using cloth nappies the majority of the time has made us feel so much better about the impact we’re having on the environment. It has also meant we can afford to buy highly biodegradable disposable nappies for when we use them (usually going out or going on holidays, as well as overnight).
- Reading Together: We’ve been reading to Little Fearse pretty much every day since before she was born. We started with Trish Rabe’s “Oh Baby, The Places You’ll Go”, which BP read to her each night while she was in the womb. She has access to all her board books in her reading corner and will often bring us one at random times throughout the day to read to her. Mama has high hopes for Little Fearse ripping through her own book collection as the years pass.
- Music Mornings: BP has often awoken early to spend an hour of two with Little Fearse in the mornings while Mama sleeps. He has used this time to introduce her to lots of different music from a variety of genres. She has pretty clear taste when it comes to music and will happily stop and dance (no matter where she is) to something she loves. She is also drawn to musical toys and instruments, much to her Daddy’s delight.
- Choosing Simplicity: We took the time out this year to spend with Little Fearse over having money and stuff. With BP studying and Mama working half time we get to spend a good chunk of each day with our baby, enjoying her and learning with her and exploring with her. By choosing to BNN and by focusing on a simpler life we never feel that we’re wasting time by napping with Little Fearse or going on long, meaningless wanders, or even just snuggling up for a day under the blankets. They are some of life’s forgotten blessings.
With a little bit awe at how fast this year has vanished and bucket loads of love for the child we chose to bring into this world,
Big Poppa and Mama xoxo
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