As a first time mom I have loved following along with fellow bloggers as they hit major milestones with their children and share the dos and don’ts of parenting as told by their experiences. I’ve learned so many important tips that have helped to shape me as a mama and Fox as an individual. That’s why I’m so excited to partner with Gerber® Good Start® in today’s post to share my Formula For Happiness and pay it forward to those in need of some insight!
Since everyone’s babies are vastly different, I’ll give you an idea of Fox’s little personality (it’s a big one): he’s busy, silly, busy, needy, busy, energetic, busy, independent, and did I say busy yet?
My husband used to laugh at me for always wanting someone in the room to keep me company but never wanting to actually interact. Now I’m eating it tenfold because that’s exactly how Fox is. He wants me to sit and play with his toys by myself while he plays with his toys by himself but heaven forbid we play together 😉 He is constantly on the move, loves a good dance session, and chatters about his “dada” all day long. Beyond all of those sweet things, he does have a few quirks. He cries if I’m more than 5-8 steps away from him and wants my eyes on him at all times – even if Tyler is on baby duty.
Overall, he’s a very happy boy that likes to get into everything!
I knew we needed to make a couple minor changes to skirt those sweet, yet overwhelming, moments so that I could still manage some time for me, my work, and our home. Here’s what I found:
It wasn’t until I was put into a situation of being in a home that’s not baby ready that I realized how much extra work I put in chasing Fox. Not only that, but I realized I was making him upset when I’d take things from his grip. Trust me when I say that having a fully babyproofed room means that I can turn my hawkeye down when Fox is able to crawl anywhere and grab anything in sight. It’s made life tremendously easier and Fox feels like the king of the castle.
Activity Bins and Bookshelves
When Fox got old enough to start pulling things off his bookshelves I had to do some serious swapping out of items. Right now he can reach the bottom two rows. The top two are filled with board books, fill and spill toys (a toolbox and a grocery basket), and a couple other baby-friendly items. The bottoms are what I like to call “activity bins.” These bins are stuffed with anything and everything – stuffed animals, battery-operated toys, random clothes and shoes, teethers, blocks, and books. I pull out one at a time for Fox and it buys me about an hour of him rifling through his “new” toys. He puts the toys in and out of the bin, sits in the bin, flips the bin over and stands next to it… and when he’s bored we switch to a new bin and start all over! These can be moved from room to room as well if you need a distraction while cooking or doing laundry.
Letting Messes Happen
Kids will be kids and I quickly learned that one of the things that keeps my home happy is letting Fox make a mess. By letting him spread his toys and books around on the floor he keeps himself busy without worrying that I’ll come behind him and unstack his block towers and reshelve his books. It keeps my frustration level to a minimum as well. After all, everything can be picked up at the end of the day.
For someone who thrives on consistency, I have never been a fan of the bedtime routine. I only tried it out of desperation and guess what? It works. I can’t be right all the time I guess! For Fox we follow these simple steps:
- Play it out – Get out all the wiggles by chasing him around the room, playing peek-a-boo, and having a dance party.
- Bathtime – Play some more, but this time in the tub. Fox is a water baby, but the second we pull him out he’s angry and ready for bed.
- Filling all the bars – You know how in The Sims you have to fill all of those energy bars for things like hunger, cleanliness, etc.? That’s how I like to think about this part. Fox gets a snack, clean diaper, his teeth brushed (aka mama gets bit), and a warm bottle. Gerber® Good Start® Infant Formulas are now all Non-GMO, and while there’s no reason to believe that Non-GMO products are healthier than others it’s nice to know that Gerber® listens to the moms, dads, and caregivers that use their products.
- Bedtime story – This only happens half the time in my household. Usually Fox is so wiped out from the bath that he wants to be put down right away. It’s a blessing and a curse, but there has never been a single time in all 11 months that he’s let me hold him while he falls asleep. My independent man wants to do it on his own. When he lets me read a book, I choose one that focuses on going to sleep (current faves are A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na and Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton).
Stop Saying No
Recently Fox started laughing at us when we would say “no.” He thinks it’s hilarious and, although we tried not to, we couldn’t help ourselves from laughing back. It started to encourage bad behavior and that needed to stop fast. I read shortly after that cutting out the word no and exchanging it with real reasons why not is helpful for behavior adjustments and I soon had to put it to good use when Fox started tugging on the fur of our cats. Instead of saying no I explained that it hurts the kitties, said “ouch,” and made a sad face. Then I showed him the right way to pet the cats gently and added in some serious fanfare when he followed suit. Problem solved!
Change of Scenery
When all else fails I switch rooms or get outside. Fox gets the stir-crazy gene from his papa and sometimes all it takes is a new place to explore. Luckily we have a nice yard for Fox to crawl around on and most crying fits cease immediately with a little fresh air.
Now that I’ve shared with you my #FormulaForHappiness, do you have any tips you think I should incorporate into my lifestyle that have been helpful in yours? Let me know in the comments below!