As a parent, you're supposed to be the one teaching your child but I have found that I am learning as much from Ben as he is learning from me. Here are a few things that my funny little man has been teaching me...
Joy Should Be Your Default Setting
Benjamin is always waiting to be delighted by something; he's never cynical or suspicious and he is so quick to raise a smile. His natural state is a happy one, and I think we could all take that on board a little more. Start from a place of joy, and joy will flow more easily to you. Don't expect everything to be awful, expect it to be interesting and fun, and it probably will be!
Never Give Up On Your Goals
All Benjamin wants to do right now is move, but his limbs will not co-operate. Does he give up? Not likely! Every day he rolls onto his front and pedals his arms and legs, hoping to get some tractions. He knows that one day he will be able to crawl and then the world will be his oyster, so even though he gets frustrated, he still keeps going. We should all be so determined!
Don't Be Afraid to Express Your Needs
Does Benjamin worry what I will think if he demands his milk or lets me know that he's tired? Nope. Babies have to be pretty up front about their needs and as a result, he gets what he wants. As adults we can't take quite the same tactic - wailing loudly probably won't get you very far - but rather than worrying about what other people will think about us, why not just express what you need clearly and simply? You can't get it if you don't ask!
Naps and Snacks Are Always a Good Idea
I mean, this goes without saying, but having a baby has forced me to slow down in our days together. We've got into a habit of having three little naps together in the day when we're at home and they are some of my favourite times. Whilst I don't actually sleep (since I'm holding Ben), it is a restful time for me and that makes all the difference to my mental wellbeing.
Similarly, Ben will take pretty much any snack that's offered. He doesn't worry about calorie content or nutritional value (although luckily I am doing that for him!) - he just thinks food is fun and tasty. And you know what? Food *is* fun and tasty. So have a snack!
Live In The Moment
Ben only knows the moment. As soon as he's comforted, he stops crying and forgets what the source of his pain was. As soon as a toy is presented, that's the one he wants to play with. When do we stop living in the moment? It's something that babies and toddlers seem to do instinctively but is so much harder as an adult. Hanging out with Ben makes it much easier to stay in the moment, and he sets a good example for enjoying whatever's in front of you right now and not worrying about the future.
There's not many situations that can't be improved by beaming a big smile. Benjamin is the king of charming shop staff, waitresses, old people in the street - as soon as someone smiles at him, he's grinning away and it just brings a lot of extra happiness into everyone's day. Whilst I don't think my smile will have quite the same effect as a cute baby's, it's always better to go in with a smile than with a frown - you might make someone's day, even if you're not six months old!