Life is sure a strange experience, isn’t it? At first I didn’t have a child and when my son was born, it took me some time to get used to the fact that his little person is going to be attached to me for quite some time now. It took me a complete change of mindset to become a Mom, a person responsible for a child every second of every minute of every day.

If you were to ask me when I was single: “What makes a good present for a 16 months old boy”, I’d say “Beats me!”. But now, living with a baby for that long and having spent every day of his life with him, I have a very good idea what toys stand a chance.

It is true that every kid is different and they all are unique, but there are activities that most of kids like at 15 – 18 months and there are toys that almost always will be a success with toddlers of that age.

How do I stop hosing down his high chair covered with food?
I teach him not to use his hands when eating soup or porridge. We have this agreement where I help him to get a spoon full of soup from the bowl safely to his mouth. To be perfectly honest, it doesn’t always work and sometimes he fights my attempts to help. Then I leave him to try, but follow the dripping spoon with a bowl, holding it right under, so that the food would fall back in.

When your baby starts trying to feed himself, you quickly realize how easy, even boring, you life was before. No fighting over the spoon, no washing food off the walls and the floor 5 times a day, no bathing the baby after every meal. No hosing down his covered with porridge high chair, no washing sticky fingerprints of your clothes, no undressing in the kitchen because he just spilled a glass of milk on you, no finding pieces of toast 5 meters away from the table. It turns out that you were missing on a lot of fun before this self-feeding thing began.

If you were to ask me last week: “How can I find a hairdresser that will cut my child’s hair without him making a scene”, I would have said “Don’t hold your breath, they don’t exist”.

But that was before I learned that some hairdressers can handle the most impatient toddler like nobody’s business.

Everything happens too fast. It seems like only yesterday we were taking our little treasure home from the hospital, and now he looks like a preschooler. I know, I know, he’s only 15 months, but somehow he looks so much older. And he seems to be well-developed for his age – eating on his own, drinking from a cup, trying to talk and in general understanding everything we tell him.

My second step was the plan. I am not good at getting (or even accepting) help, which is why I was going to do it myself. No classes, no doctors, no tablets, no patches.

I started to smoke fewer cigarettes a day, from 10 down to 7, then to 5, then to 3. I cut down

Quitting smoking was the greatest sacrifice I’ve made for my baby. If you’re a smoker or an ex-smoker, you know what I’m talking about. I have been smoking ever since I was 18, for over 12 years and really enjoyed it. Cigarettes were a part of who I was and I had no desire to quit during my smoking years, not even once. What is more, I considered smoking to be one of the pleasures of life, and giving up the cigarettes would make me feel deprived of that pleasure, like I was giving up something important that nothing else can replace.