Life Lessons from a Baby

I was having a difficult time of it a week ago. I would be trying to do something, accomplish something, have fun with something, and I would get interrupted by the baby or my son would be having none of it and I would have to have my husband step in to finish cooking or clean up a mess and I would feel guilty about it or I was getting frustrated at feeling like I couldn’t get anything done, even keeping myself clean. And my husband had to give me a talking to, which I could tell he was unsure how I was going to receive it. He told me that I was trying to do everything I did before having the baby plus take care of the baby, and I had to stop because I was driving myself crazy and he could tell I would start taking it out on everyone else soon. And he was absolutely right. So I had to take a step back and rethink my approach. I took a week to only aim at generic goals and not specific ones, and focused on trying to enjoy everything more fully. And it’s worked – my brain has been modified, and I started watching my daughter more and am applying the lessons to my life.

  • Take joy in basic things. My daughter, now six weeks old, will sometimes pause as she is about to latch onto the breast and make eye contact with me and smile a huge smile, then start eating. Like she is so excited that food is on the way and that I’m sharing the moment with her. Eating is a necessity, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t savor it and the company we find ourselves in when we do eat.
  • Be amazed by the world around you. Like bath time, which the baby  gets so excited about. When was the last time you really enjoyed your bath or shower simply because of the feel of the water? Now, as a creative, I love using and exploring my senses, but there are times I get too caught up and forget, and I’m sure many of you do too. But if we’re able to experience the sensations, how better can we then describe them if we’re writing or express them in our artistic endeavors? The feel of the wind on your face, the smell of food cooking, the way velvet or grass feels beneath our fingertips. These are sensations we should take the time to enjoy. Don’t take the good things for granted.
  • Celebrate small victories. During tummy time, my daughter pushed herself over the tummy time pillow using her back legs (she’s very strong), and she looked so pleased with herself after the fact. It’s still not what she wants, which is to be fully mobile, but it’s a step in the right direction, and her infant brain knew that. For me, maybe my work space isn’t coming together as quickly as I’d like and maybe I’m not making as much progress on creative goals as I’d wanted to while on maternity leave, but I’m chipping away same as I always do, and progress is getting made nonetheless. So breaking things down into smaller steps (empty these three boxes today in my workspace, etc) and really feeling accomplished for doing that much has been very helpful to my psyche.
  • Never underestimate the power of a nap. This may be the most important. If the world gets to be too much and you’re feeling overwhelmed or cranky, take a little nap. We all mostly lead very overstimulated lives, and giving our brains a break to process is a good thing.

Life Lessons from Hungry, Hungry Hippos

My son has been really into games of all kinds lately, so when his 4 year old birthday came last week, we got him Hungry, Hungry Hippos as part of his gift. And I had an epiphany while playing with him last night. He, being four, would start slamming down on the lever as fast and hard as he could, while I was doing the same with one hand. But with my other hand, I was operating a second hippo at a slower and more cautious rate, and it was that hippo that ate more marbles most of the rounds. So, a metaphor for life, where humans are the hippos:

Frequently in life, we fight to consume as much as we can as fast as we can when it is actually the one who watches and waits and figures out what they actually want who takes the biggest bite.

So I would ask – what is it that you are fighting so hard to consume? Things that will nourish your body and soul or things that attempt to fill a void you want to pretend doesn’t exist? Or do you bide your time and wait to take the bite that you really want?

Also, who or what is taking the biggest bite out of you? And are they worthy of that bite?

As a complete aside, the games today are so cheaply made. I could have stood on the old version of Hungry, Hungry Hippos without breaking it, but now, not so much. It’s almost like goods are designed to break, causing you to throw them away and buy another after a certain amount of time.