Lessons from a Toddler

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By Veronica

It has been a while since I’ve written about my little boo, Bailey.  Life comes at you fast, especially as it relates to raising a little person.  The biggest misconception I’ve experience about having a baby is that they aren’t a baby for long!  And by not long, I mean, literally seconds!  Y’all could of told me that my tiny 5-pound 7-ounces newborn baby would morph into a strong willed little person in what feels like the blink of an eye.  Already, she is running around our home and making decisions for herself. 

All in all, however, it has been such a privilege to watch her transition from knowing nothing to mastering various motor skills.  Truly, one of the greatest thrills has been seeing her learn how to walk!  When I tell you, Ms. Bailey has truly been dropping some gems in my adult life!  Gems!  I didn’t know a baby could deliver a sermon (with no words), but she has.  So, as your Bestie, I thought I’d share some of these lessons with you.  

1.     Start where you are.  While I do consider my Bailey Boo a genius, she was not born a walker.  She wasn’t even born a crawler, or roller for that matter.  She came into the world not having any of the skills needed to reach her ultimate goal.  But, she set her sights on achieving it one step at a time.  As I watched her go through each milestone, I could see her determination.  Now, the goal probably wasn’t to walk (as walking is just a means to an end), but she used what she knew to propel her to the next steps. 

2.     Get comfortable with falling.  Talk about getting back up again!?!?!  If a cat has 9 lives, Bailey has 97,000.  While this has wrecked my nerves, she never lets her current ability stop her.  Now that’s a word!  Even when there were tears, and sometimes bruises, she would take a moment, collect her thoughts, and just like the fall never happened, she would try again.  Even as a walker now, she still falls.  And with each fall, fearlessly, she never quits. 

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3.     Don’t let folks rush you…even your mommy.  So, Bailey started pulling up to walk at 6 months.  We would go on play dates with her baby bestie, and Bailey was mobile!  Moving!!  I was sure she would be an early walker.  She had a walker and several other contraptions to aid her in winning the walking race (the one I had in my competitive mind), and she used them often and effectively.   So, when her bestie started walking before she did, I was a bit shock. Bailey taught me that the journey is hers.  She would walk (or not walk) when she was good and ready, and that’s exactly what she did!

4.     Take the risk, and WALK!  So leading up to the day Bailey took her first several steps in concession, she took tiny steps here and there at daycare and at home.  She would walk along objects, like the table, but never completely by herself.  But one day (December 1st to be exact), she just walked.  The starting, preparations, and focus were important, but it was making a decision that day that made it happen.  Watching her, I could see her mustarding up the courage, and with a huge smile on her little face, she toddled her way to the other side of my bedroom.  Just like that…wow! 

5.   Keep going!  As if learning to walk wasn’t amazing enough, Bailey is on to achieving other goals:  walking up stairs, coming down stairs, learning/speaking words, feeding herself, and countless other things.  If this precocious soul continues in this vain, she will continue to teach mommy to always be working, growing, accomplishing, and trying to be better.  Go Baby Girl!

 

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What lessons have you learned?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Happened After Having A Baby

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By Veronica

When I thought about having a baby BEFORE I actually had a baby, I visualized this cuddly, cute, small creature that smelled yummy and had the ability to literally change the atmosphere.  No one told me about all the other stuff!  The weird things that happen to your body after you give birth (as if labor weren't enough).  All the more proving that the woman body is a matchlessly amazing thing! 

I will preface these 6 things by saying while most of them may seem weird or outlandishly uncomfortable, this too shall pass and the joy received from your little one far surpasses any and all challenges.  Even with what I know now, I would gladly do it all again if it meant I got to be Bailey’s Mom.

1.  You are still pregnant…or at least it looks that way.

In the days and even weeks after your baby is born it is very likely that you will still have a very firm belly.  Do not be fooled by the Eniko Harts of the world!  Even with a relatively decent snapback situation, the after body looks very similar to the before.  I am presently 4 months postpartum and still on the struggle bus on the road to getting my body back.  I try to constantly be kind to myself, remembering that it took 10 months, a week, and a day to form this body…it’ll take time (a lot of time) to get it back.

2 Weeks Postpardum

2 Weeks Postpardum

2.    Bowels Be Trippin’!

Regardless of how your child comes into the world, be it vaginal or cesarean, the process of child birth shifts and changes the other organ's ability to handle bodily functions.  In layman’s terms, shitting is scary!  Like clinching the wall scary!  I have heard that some moms named their first poo because of the intensity and labor required!  Make Colace (stole softener) your bestie. 

3.     Fluids Runneth Over.

Mounds of fluids accumulate in your body to protect and sustain the life of your little one.  When that little one leaves your body, the fluids go too.  So the menstrual break you were on for the past 10 months is officially over…and it will make up for lost time as you will likely have a heavy period for the first several days.  Additionally, I had major feet swelling occur after birth for several days to the point that I could not fit my shoes.  Drinking water to flush the fluids out helped immensely.

4.     Breastfeeding is Hard AF.

Everyone talks about the benefits of breastfeeding…how it's good for your little one, how that bonding time in nursing offers a closeness that no one else has.  I wish I knew breast-feeding is NOT for the faint of heart!  First of all, latching is seldom a perfect process.  Bailey and I are just now getting a rhythm with it (4 months later).  And oh the pain of milk production (your milk “coming down”) and engorged boobs that leak!! If I didn’t know what a real contraction felt like, I’d say it’s the most painful thing.  And pumping…chile, that’s an entirely separate post!  Let’s just say, there are other things I’d rather do.  Try to find other breast-feeding mamas for support.  I attend a support group through the University of Chicago Hospital that has been very helpful.   There are several other support groups and lactation consultants.  You can also find support online.

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5.     Emotions! Emotions! Emotions!

The combination of imbalanced hormone levels and sleep deprivation will likely have your emotional state out of sorts.  Baby blues is REAL!  And it should be…you just had a WHOLE HUMAN for goodness sake!  Take time to rest when you can, step away from the baby from time to time, and talk to someone if it goes on for too long.

 

6.     There Isn’t ANYTHING Too Hard for Your Body.

A close friend of mine gave me some great advice before Bailey was born.  “It will be the hardest work you’ve ever done, but it won’t feel like it.”  Nothing in this process is too hard for your body to handle! You survived LABOR. You can survive ANYTHING!!  Even with my experiences as a new mom, I would like to have another baby(God willing).  It has truly been a wonderfully interesting ride, and I am so grateful to of had the opportunity to travel it!

Bailey and her PROUD Mama

Bailey and her PROUD Mama

What other things do you wish you knew about childbirth?  Or the process after?  I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments below!

Love Without Fear,

Veronica

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Year Without Fear Review

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By Veronica

January

It all started with a haircut…

One year ago...

One year ago...

Reeling from a break-up, I wanted a change.  I needed a change.  Hiding behind the direction of others, I felt like I wasn’t living for me, afraid of living a life of my choosing.  In a lot of ways, I didn’t even know the life I wanted to choose.  I decided that 2017 would be the year I figured it out, my Year Without Fear (read about how clueless I was about the crazy year I was about to have). Challenging myself to fearlessly try new things, and believe in the impossible.  For me, at that moment, that was just a haircut!  That’s it! That’s all!  Be very careful of what you ask...the Universe is listening!!!  I didn’t know it then, but my fears (and tears) would be challenged in ways I never could have imagined!  Unbeknownst to me, I was about to  take an amazing ride full of great highs, lows, lessons, and blessings.

 

 

 

March

Presents aren’t always wrapped perfectly.

I learned I was expecting…a human!  While I always knew I wanted children, I definitely didn’t plan or expect to be become pregnant this year.  A time that should have been filled with excitement and joy was filled with fear and sorrow.  Would I be able to raise a daughter as a single parent?  Would I be able to still fulfill my own dreams with a child?  As the weeks progressed, she grew and so did the realities of the new life I faced.  I would be a mom…forever!  I couldn’t undo it.  As her presence in my body became more apparent, I realized the everyday miracles of a little life that (for reasons I still don’t know) chose me to be her mom.  What a privilege!  My pregnancy was the cornerstone of my year, and it was incredible!  It opened my mind and heart to be fearless in other decisions.  Welcoming my baby girl in December revealed a peace I never knew existed.  It exposed a new purpose for living, and boy did it make me fearless.  

Unknowingly Pregnant

Unknowingly Pregnant

April

All I have to do is commit.

36 weeks pregnant and deep end swimming!

36 weeks pregnant and deep end swimming!

I started swim lessons.  At the beginning of every lesson, I had to talk myself into it!  I committed myself to Just Keep Swimming.  In time, the techniques I learned started to make sense.  I was learning to swim!  By the end of November, I felt comfortable swimming in the deep end of the pool.  What a feat!  It proved to me that some fears require some time and practice, and conquering them are as possible as your commitment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

May

Just take the first step.

Closing on my 2nd Property

Closing on my 2nd Property

Knowing I would be adding to my household, my mother suggested that I consider buying a home.  I was completely reluctant!  I had enough on my plate, and (in the words of my grandma Ruby) nobody ever fell out of a house!  I went to view the property and only saw the work it needed.  I didn’t feel I was financially or physically prepared to purchase a home and move while pregnant!  Sometimes opportunities present themselves when you don’t feel you’re ready.  When something is meant for you, taking the first step is all you need to do, and things will come together.  So, I took the step.  By October, with a lot of help, I was moved in with some renovations already complete.  God is good!

 

 

December

I can do anything!

The greatest test of being fearless was definitely giving birth.  (Sidenote: there is a much longer post coming about my birth story…because it was that terrifying and amazing!) This experience took my emotions to places I have never even imagined.  It exposed an inner strength I didn’t even know I possessed.  It was completely imperfect.  Nothing like I planned, but in conquering this experience, I know now that I am capable of achieving any goal.  And when it was all said and done, a mommy was born!  Wow!  What a beautiful way to culminate the year.

I am a mommy!

I am a mommy!

As I reflect on this past year, I am so grateful.  I saw many low places, and shed many tears, but I made it.  Let me clarify.  I made it ON TOP!  A new home, a new life. and many new lessons.  I learned to trust myself.  I learned to lean on others. I learned to create my own happiness.  I learned to embrace the process.  I learned to believe.  If I can achieve all these things in one year…the future is limitless!  And I am ready for whatever there is in store!

How was your 2017?  What is the title of your 2018?

 

Love Without Fear,

Veronica

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