Every child is different.  That’s clear simply by watching them being received into daycare every morning.  Some run in with excitement, some quietly comply, and my son is a wild card.  Some days, he is more than happy to step in, remove his hat and jacket, wash his hands, and begin playing.  Other days, I stand in the door of the classroom forever waiting for him to decide that daycare is going to make his agenda for the day.  In those moments of extreme patience, I realize that I’ve learned so much.

His birthday is in May.  Here are 22 lessons I’ve learned with my son that I think might help someone on their journey.

  1. Just when I thought I’d witnessed my highest level of patience, I always have more.
  2. That little face makes me give in.  This is ok sometimes.
  3. His ignoring skills are professional-grade.  I’ve learned not to take it personally.
  4. There is always a favorite toy.  (First, it was this bird. It no longer has wings, btw.  Currently, it’s the vehicle  of this set.)
  5. Children learn quickly, so choosing toys that focus on their speedy little brains is helpful.  (I.e., my son can say octagon because of daycare and this toy.  He is also the only child under 2 that know his letters because of these bath toys.)
  6. Children will play with everything in a room that is NOT a toy, before playing with their toys.
  7. Don’t talk baby talk to them or they will talk baby talk to you… when they are no longer babies.
  8. Bending down and speaking to them at eye level helps them listen better.
  9. Don’t regularly have electronics between you and them.  My son tends to push my phone or laptop away if it’s up.  He wants to know he has direct access to me at any time.  He deserves it.
  10. No one’s suggestions are laws.  Take them into consideration, discuss with the other parent if applicable, implement or not based on your judgment.
  11. Babies cry.  A lot.  You don’t have to do anything wrong.  As toddlers, nothing has to be wrong with them.  They just whine and cry because…  (Yes, just because.  That’s it.)
  12. My son is more advanced than I give him credit.  I thought he was still on bottles, but at daycare, he was on cups.  Then when I finally caught up with cups at home, at daycare, he was on open-faced cups.
  13. He loves being close.  I hope to enjoy this as long as it lasts.
  14. Put him out of your bed and in his crib sooner than later.  The sooner he associates his crib with comfort and rest; the better life will be.
  15. Sometimes he just wants dad.  I don’t even understand this.
  16. There is such a thing as a nap mat.  Who knew?
  17. Give away clothes and helpful tools you’ve used to your friends who have children after you.  (It saves them money.  It saves you space.  If you think you will have another child, just ask them to take good care and send it back your way.)
  18. Not all children fall asleep riding in the car.  (*insert side eye here *). However, planes tend to take my son right on out.  Praise the Almighty.
  19. Children will make your habits obvious.  My son learned the word “alright” very early.  I didn’t realize how much my husband and I said it until he began to say it every day.
  20. Ignore people who ask when you’re going to have another.  It’s neither their business nor concern.  You aren’t required to answer them.
  21. Sign up for every loyalty program that exists.  (And if you’re going to be in Target as much as I am, get a RED Card.)
  22. Love yourself as unconditionally as your child does.  They don’t care how your hair looks, whether you cooked or microwaved their dinner, you breastfed for 10 days or 10 months, or if your bank account has a minus sign in front or not.  They look at you and feel the same connection always.

Jacqui Jones

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