babies hate toys

I've come to realize something, which is that babies are not truly fans of toys. This is a bit astounding considering the billions of dollars poured into the industry to make us believe that toys are, in fact all young children want. 

What children really crave is experience. First-hand, multi-sensory, and the messier the better. Little monsters will get their hands on anything they can, especially something they see us touching. At 1 year old, some of my son's favorite toys have been the following:

  • People, especially other, older kids. There is no better toy on earth than other people. Mama and Papa are the guides, the center of the universe. It's already  more than clear that everything we do is seen and everything we say is heard.  
  • Doors and boxes. Open, close, repeat.
  • Plants and flowers: My son talks to them, about them, touches them and marvels at them.
  • Any kind of brush with bristles: The crumb brush, nail brush, hair brush, makeup brush. All besties.
  • Books, and not even kid ones necessarily. Magazines, catalogs, in any language, the more pictures the better. All served as pretty decent for distraction while I'm on the phone.
  • Water, if we're willing to let him make a mess.
  • Lastly, and this one seems to know no bounds, is the salad spinner. My kid's interest in this thing just keeps on giving. Has enabled many a meal to be made at the last minute. 


letting go and being...

When I started this post I figured I ought to have something quite profound to say on the subject of letting go, considering how much it's on my mind. 

I've always been the kind of person to spin plates. Chaos is my natural habitat. I expected that my priorities would change as I assumed my role as a new mother. What I wasn't expecting was for things to spin out of control so that I quickly lost the ability to decide which priorities waned, and when. And while I'm much better at this now, I initially lacked the perspective to be kind to myself, and simply allow time to adjust.

The thing is that I really liked myself, my freedom, and my relationship before our first baby came. It seems I rather naively believed a baby would seamlessly glide into our lives and our schedules, and just push out some things that, by relative comparison, would longer seem important anyway. That did happen. But beyond the idyllic family life that is prevalent in social media, being a parent in real life requires you to let go of a lifestyle, an outlook, a you -- that quickly becomes impractical. Specifically, the one than wakes up wondering what you're going to do on a given day...ah, the luxury.

Some of this feels completely natural and wonderful. Like there was this simple, but complicated, busy but genuinely fulfilling life out there waiting for me all this time, until I was ready for it. But in some ways, my awesome new responsibility as a mother was layered onto a life I wasn't ready to let go of yet.

Eventually I learned that I had to plan ahead for things, and could no longer continue to have so many projects going at once. At least not if I was still going to feel like  I was doing a good job devoting myself to our family life, performing at my job, and honoring myself. This has me negotiating with myself many times a day to determine what I can turn away from. 

Currently, I'm operating on advice someone gave me when I was about 8 months pregnant. I won't be able to do it all, and that's okay. On tough days, the laundry may go undone. When things get busy, our date night out might turn into date night in, watching a movie. Sometimes it's work that has to wait, because someone important in my life needs us. And once in a while, I miss out on the bedtime routine because I have to work late. But as long as I find a way to rotate and balance these little hiccups, I still manage to squeeze all the good stuff in over the long haul.

And that's how a post on letting go, actually became a post about holding on to what's important.