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There is nothing like having a newborn, but they don't stay
small for long. Now that my kids are in their teens and 20s, there are a few "must-do" things I wish I could go back and
do with them. If only I knew! If you're knee-deep in the baby stage, or are expecting a little one soon, you might want to consider some of these tips:
1. The "baby feet" picture
I can imagine tiny little baby feet cradled in Dad's hands, or maybe the whole family's bare
feet nestled together. My feet aren't anything to write home about, but those
tiny baby toes and squishy feet don't last long. And I wish I had cute
pictures of them.
My friend Katie has the cutest teddy bear—a huge one—that her baby girl sits
next to for a monthly photo. It's adorable, and the perfect way to see how much
she's grown. I still have a tiny rocking chair from my childhood, which would have been perfect for pictures like this, if it had crossed my mind.
3. Take a bath just to play
Babies always seem to need a bath, whether they are covered in smashed peas or
just dripping with drool. But bath time can be fun, too. There is nothing cuter
than a happy kid splashing in the water. But in my haste to stay on
task and get my babies dressed/fed/to bed, I rarely let bath time
linger longer than necessary.
I should have let go of the reins a bit more, and let other people who cared about my kids spend some time in charge. Really, it's OK.
4. Oh-so-cute baby Halloween costumes
I nailed this one with my son—he was the cutest 5-month-old Superman you've ever seen. But for my daughter's first Halloween, she was only 2 months old, and we were so preoccupied with my son and his trick-or-treating that we
just bundled her up and walked the neighborhood. I can only imagine how adorable she would look dressed like a pea in a pod!
5. Blow bubbles
Babies love bubbles. Such a simple thing, really—but they smile and laugh as they try to catch them. I guess I thought bubbles were kind of messy or too much
work, because they only came out on special occasions. If I could go back,
bubbles would be a staple.
6. Mom in the picture
When the baby is a newborn, we are in most of the pictures because we're
holding her. But the focus is most definitely on the baby, so it seems OK. Then
as our baby grows we stay in the picture less and less, opting to stage the
photo rather than participate in it. I wish I stayed in the frame more to look back on our baby-mom moments.
7. Let other people take the reins
I might have been a bit of a control freak about my babies. I truly felt like I was the best person to
care for them. We never even hired a babysitter when ours were small—ever.
Sure, we swapped childcare with friends and had family members watch them once
in a while. But I should have let go of the reins a bit more, and let other people
who cared about my kids spend some time in charge. Really, it's OK.
8. Leave them overnight
And speaking of letting other people care for them, what about those
overnights? Tiny babies seem like so much work to leave with a friend or family
member all night long. I wish I had known that it would be such a treat for
us and for the caregivers to swap roles once in a while. A good night's sleep
for Mom and Dad is the best gift ever. I should have accepted it more often.
9. Document random days
Some of my favorite video clips are of random days at home, maybe sitting at
the dinner table listening to the kids chatter or tell silly jokes. I don't
have as many of these when they were little, probably because I couldn't manage
holding the baby and the video camera at the same time without dropping one. I
simply can't remember what a routine, regular day was like with either of my
babies—and it would be so fun to see it now.