Last year was a busy summer for me. I had to be in charge of three growing kids and was able to figure out the do’s and don’t’s here. While my niece and nephews gave me a run for my money last summer, I’m realizing they only gave me a manini (ma-knee-knee meaning small) taste of what was to come with parenting.

Fast forward exactly one year later and I’m thankful for those kids because now the tides have turned and I can’t return my kiddo. This summer is only half way over and while I’ve learned a few things I have a sinking feeling I am heading straight toward learning an infinite amount of parenting. Does a parent even ever stop learning?

Half way through the summer and I’ve learned:

  • You can never be too prepared.

As if last summer’s escapade of a pooped pants at a church BBQ wasn’t enough to learn I’m hoping this years multiple blow outs will teach me that it’s always good to have extra diapers, wipes and clothes on hand. Oh, and if you have a 9 month old like mine, DON’T FORGET TO USE THE STRAP on the baby station. Getting poop smeared EVERYWHERE including on yourself is no fun when you’re in public. The. Absolute. Worst.

  • Just because something looks cute doesn’t mean it’s the best out there.

I bought a floating device for my little guy. He absolutely loves it. He sits in there splashing water on anyone who gets near. He can spend a great amount of time sitting in there, kicking his tiny feet in the water, watching the shenanigans that are going on in the pool. The issue? When the PNW sun is glaring down at you it’s a good thing to have a floating device that has a shade for your little one. Otherwise the sunscreen you put on him 45 minutes prior to getting in the water needs to be reapplied 45 minutes after getting into the water. And it becomes a vicious cycle of a screaming kid who was taken out of their happy place because their mama thought a pirate ship floater was the absolute cutest.

  • Kids are smarter than you think.

That damn show, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader, makes sense now. The going line at home is, “Are you smarter than a 9 month old?” Seriously guys, don’t take your baby’s genius brain for granted. My little man absorbs information like none other. Sometimes I think he’s being observant and plotting a plan to rule the world. Or at least our little home world. And daycare. Can’t forget daycare. We bought a pretty expensive play pen for him. It’s large enough to fit my entire living room. Well, that isn’t enough. He’s like his mama, he loves adventures. Which means understanding that if he scoots things to a corner he can find a way to climb out. Which means he learned to unlock the gate and make a run for it. Which means his daddy will soon have to Macgyver a solution to keep him in his play area.

  • If there’s a will, there is always a way.

Kid’s are incredible resilient. My guy is no different. He’s been able to battle a crap load of health issues and come out on top. But, it’s his will and stubbornness outside of his health that worries me. I am one of the most stubborn people in the world. I think I’ve somehow rubbed that off on him. When I pick him up from daycare (here comes the explanation of how he rules that place) he always seems to be the one leading the pack. Which also means he’s the one that runs over the rest of the babies. And, I kid you not, he literally runs over them. I don’t go much farther than the door of his classroom if he sees me. This allows him to problem solve his way to me. Well, one day, he problem solved alright. Instead of going around the toys and the little boy in front of him, he went through them. He pushed this kid out of the way, climbed over the kids lets and got to me. The kid fell to the ground and cried. My son smiled and kept moving. Is this foreshadowing what’s to come?

My kid has an incredible mind that can potentially create a life for him that allows him to make a change. No matter the lessons I’ve had to learn, and there are so many I haven’t shared, I want to cultivate that potential. Being prepared means he won’t have to cut the trip short allowing him to learn about the things around him. Doing your research means he doesn’t have a bad day. His climbing allows him to learn to trust his instincts and provides growth in his development. Unlocking the gate? Well, learning a puzzle may lead him to being the scientist that finds the cure for cancer! And his will makes him overcome all of the cards life dealt him to flourish in his surroundings and his life.

Lessons learned as a parent? Naw, lessons learning. If I have to stumble through parenthood to help my baby become the very best version of himself then why the hell not? A Parenting 201 syllabus and book isn’t really needed at this stage. No outline or book is going to teach you what will come from experience: there is no such thing as being a perfect parent. Just be a real one for your children. xoxo