Two babies smiling

10 Things We Can Learn From Babies

Author: Jessica Woolwine
Published Date: Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Our children come into the world, and they don’t know how to do much more than cry, sleep, eat and poop.

From the moment they become ours, we teach them what they need to know. I’m talking about important life skills like: I am Mama. The stove is hot. Don’t eat the dog food.

I’m sure we teach a few other things in between, but those are some of the big ones.

Often, we are so busy teaching our children that we forget to learn. To babies, the world is new and fascinating. They notice how the light dances on the wall, where the ball goes when it rolls under the sofa and how your lips move to make a sound. They take all this in, and it’s truly amazing to have a front-row seat in their development.

As grown-ups, we think we know more than our children. But whether this is your first baby or your last, let your baby return the favor … and teach you a few things.

1. Be curious. Peek around the corner. Turn the oven light on to watch the muffins rise when they bake. Go outside when you hear the jets fly by and actually watch them. Be fascinated by life. Babies do this naturally … when did we stop?

2. Try new foods. Spinach, kale, quinoa, mango. WHOLE FAT yogurt! Babies get to try new things all the time, but we tend to stick to the same tried-and-true foods. The other day, I took a bite of Henry’s organic whole fat yogurt, and it was bliss. I’ve been missing out for years, because I don’t eat anything full fat.

3. Enjoy your bath. If your baby loves a bath like mine does, there’s a whole lot of splashing and playing. I’m not suggesting you splash around like a mad person in your birthday suit, but throw in some bubbles and read a magazine. There’s more to life than a five-minute shower when you’re rushing to get ready for work.

4. Take time to rest. We know the importance of safe sleep for our little ones. As adults, we don’t give ourselves the same priority. We don’t sleep when the baby sleeps because there’s work to do. Rest recharges our batteries: we can be better when we take care of ourselves. There’s a reason your flight attendant teaches you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first.

5. Stop and smell the roses. Seriously. Smell the roses. They smell good. Smell the coffee like in the commercials and the shampoo at the grocery store, too. How will you know if you like it? And also, take the time to smell the popcorn at the movies, and then put butter on it. Because butter.

6. Clean floors are safe. Henry will find anything and put it in his mouth. I keep the floors clean for that reason. As an adult, clean floors are a reminder that hard work pays off. You won’t be embarrassed when company comes over. And you won’t step on Legos and limp for three days. It’s a win/win.

7. There’s nothing like a good book. As a baby, Abby loved books. It was all she ever played with. I read book after book after book to her. Her vocabulary exploded. When I vetoed TV the other evening and got out a book instead, I remembered how much I loved getting lost in another world. When people ask if you’ve read any good books lately, you’ll have an answer better than “Moo Baa La La La.

8. Crying is natural. And necessary. Babies have this skill down pat. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after a good cry? I’m not suggesting you lay down in the floor in the middle of Target because your favorite brand of coffee isn’t on sale. But, you get my drift.

9. Be aware. Put down the phone! I am guilty of not doing this enough. When something is happening, the first thing I want to do is preserve it with a photo. But I’m starting to fight that feeling, because I want to see with my own eyes – and not through the camera on my iPhone.

10. Show people you love them. Henry is the best at this. He smiles as soon as he makes eye contact. He crawls over and pulls up on my leg so I can pick him up, and we can cuddle cheek-to-cheek. He’s even started giving those open mouth baby kisses … and it’s THE BEST. Babies aren’t afraid of rejection. They give love freely, and we should too.

Anything you’d add? What has watching your little one learn taught you?

About Jessica Woolwine

Jessica Woolwine is a native of Hampton Roads and lives in Hampton with her three “miracles” Jackson (9), Abby (5) and Henry (1). As a mother to a childhood cancer survivor and a micro-preemie, she began the blog Mothering Miracles in 2014 to support other families dealing with health issues. Jessica also works as Creative Director for Rubin Communications Group and enjoys mixing her talents for graphic design and creative writing with community relations. She is a past member of both the CHKD Family Advisory Council and the CHKD NICU Family Advisory Council.