My baby A is six months old. He is so delightful at the moment (although two nights ago when I was slumped over his cot at 4.15am I was not so delighted). He is always giggling and on the move and he’s made me really think about what we can learn by watching babies. Turns out they can teach us some pretty important life lessons:
- Smile at strangers – though probably not quite so persistently and manically as my baby does. But he smiles at everyone. He doesn’t discriminate between the bank manager and the woman in Costa Coffee, and it makes everyone behave towards us in a warm, considerate way. If we, as adults, smiled at people more, instead of walking around staring at our phones, we may find the world is a much friendlier, much more helpful place.
- Persevere – Baby A is trying to crawl. Actually he is crawling but he’s going backwards. Has he stopped trying to go forwards and decided to spent the entirety of his life facing the wrong way? Of course not. When he tries to pick up the bit of banana from his highchair tray, and sticks it in his eye rather than his mouth, does he decide not to eat ever? Nope. He keeps trying. There’s a reason for that famous saying, when acquiring a new skill; if at first you don’t succeed, make like a baby and try and try again. (Ok I added the baby bit).
- Be resilient – So far today, A has bumped his head rolling from front to back, hit himself in the head with the TV remote and he trapped his finger in a teething toy (don’t ask). He dropped his lip when he rolled, cried when he trapped his finger and didn’t even notice when he whacked himself in the forehead with the SKY control. And then carried on doing whatever he was doing. I throw myself a massive pity party if I stub my toe. I really need to take a leaf out of my six month old’s book and get over myself. Though, in my defence, is stubbing your toe not the most painful minor injury ever?
- Laugh at the little things – this one doesn’t need much explanation. Let yourself be amused by the ridiculous. Like the Twirlywoos.
- Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full – babies don’t decide to binge eat a bag of crisps just because they can. Mostly because they are not allowed to eat crisps, unless you include those ‘flavoured’ puffs which actually taste completely unflavoured (well you have to try one don’t you because they look like Wotsits?!) When they’re hungry they eat the food you give them. They stop when they’re full. Even if it’s their favourite thing to eat like a fromage frais or something. They just throw the spoon at you instead. So next time you feel full in a restaurant, maybe just put the spoon down (don’t throw it at the waiter. It’s cute when the baby does it but I think it’s probably frowned upon as an adult).
- Appreciate the little things – the simplest things make my baby happy. The wind blowing in his face (or me blowing at him – it’s fine – he can’t distinguish between us yet) gives him this look of total bliss like it’s the nicest thing he’s ever felt. Today he stared at a leaf for ages (he also tried to eat it but don’t follow that example unless it’s a herb). He looks at everything with such awe and wonder and sometimes we need to do that too.
|How hilarious is eating?|
- Speak your mind – if a baby is unhappy, s/he’ll let you know. If they feel sad or hurt or tired or hungry, they’ll tell you (in their own, magical, crying-at-such-a-pitch-you-want-to-hide-under-the-stairs way). Adults should do that too. Though probably through the medium of measured, informed speech, not the crying thing.
- Love unconditionally – there seems to be no half measures when it comes to love from a baby. I know it’s partly because their relationship with you stems from their dependence on you, but they still love without boundaries. My baby doesn’t hold back his cuddles if I haven’t showered yet that day. He doesn’t hate me because I made a bad decision at work. He just loves me for who I am, faults and all. Obviously, pick your people (I presume that my baby doesn’t love the shop assistant in Tesco the way he loves me). But when you find people you love, love them unconditionally.
- Don’t worry what others think – does my baby care if he’s got Weetabix all over his face when we go to the supermarket? (yes, I know, Mummy should have cleaned it off but she didn’t because she was busy changing nappies/getting dressed/hanging the washing out/fetching nappies for the change bag/just generally trying to leave the house). No he really couldn’t care less. Because he’s happy in himself, with himself. He doesn’t need the opinions of others to validate himself. We should all do that. But probably don’t pop to Sainsburys with Weetabix round your mouth.
- Dance like no one is watching – and when I say ‘dance’, I mean ‘rock back and forwards to the theme tune of Everything’s Rosie’.
Some of these are quite tricky for us as adults I think. But, hey, if a six month old can do, I think we can give it a pretty good go.