It’s that time again. . . my favorite time of the month here on the blog, when I get to share some of the interesting, surprising, and (occasionally) deep things that I’ve learned over that past four weeks. This February has certainly brought its fair share of new knowledge my way. From the random pieces of trivia I’ve picked up here and there, to the powerful lessons that parenthood has been teaching me, here is my list of things I’ve learned this February.
- There are people who get paid to be “denim breakers” —breaking in a pair of raw jeans by wearing them for several months before they are sold to customers seeking jeans that have that lived-in look. It seems like a pretty good deal for the denim breakers, and not such a good deal for the customers—call me crazy, but unless I’m shopping at a thrift store, I kind of like to be the first person to wear the clothes that I buy.
- The oldest primary school pupil in the world is a 90-year-old Kenyan woman who is attending a village boarding school with six of her great-great grandchildren.
- A recent study found that hot flashes can last up to 14 years, with women enduring symptoms for an average of 7.4 years. Not something I’m looking forward to. . .
- McDonald’s has been serving Happy Meals since 1979. The first Happy Meal was inspired by a kid’s meal called the Menu Ronald, which was introduced at a McDonald’s in Guatemala in the mid-1970s.
- Supposably is a real word. I’d always assumed this was a mispronunciation of the word supposedly, but the Mean Ol’ Schoolmarm taught me that the two are separate words with slightly different meanings: supposably is interchangeable with the word conceivably, whereas supposedly presumes disbelief and is a synonym of the word purportedly. (Apparently WordPress is also under the impression that supposably is not a word, because it keeps trying to correct it for me as I type this.
- A study of ten different languages found that human language across cultures exhibits a clear positive bias, with people using positive words more frequently than negative words. Of the languages studied, Spanish was the “happiest” language while Chinese was the most negative.
- Gray and grey are simply different spellings of the same word. Gray is more common in American English (appearing once for every instance of grey), while grey is the preferred spelling in other English-speaking countries.
- The word tween dates back to the 1930s, when J.R.R. Tolkein used it to describe a Hobbit between the ages of 20 and 33.
On the Baby Front
- While it definitely has its challenges, I’m realizing how much I LOVE the newborn stage. My husband does not share my sentiments: though he’s great with Charlie, Luke admits that he’s looking forward to when he’s a bit older and able to interact more with us. I know the older ages will be fun, too, but right now I wish I could keep Charlie in this cuddly stage forever (or at least for longer than a couple of months).
- Pumping breast milk is pretty miserable. I have a newfound respect for women who are able to exclusively pump, and I’m thankful that I can stay home with Charlie and that pumping is a back-up for us and not standard protocol.
- Social media is SO MUCH more fun now that I have a baby, and actually have pictures to share on Instagram! And yes, I’m that mom who shares tons of pictures of her baby. I’m sure there are people who find it annoying, and they are more than welcome to block me, but I just can’t help but share my adorable little one with the world!
- On a related note, I’m pretty sure that social media was designed specifically with new moms in mind. It’s such a great way to connect with other moms, and it helps to make long days at home with my little one a bit less lonely.
- For better or worse, I’ve learned this month that writing about my baby opens me up to all sorts of criticism and unsolicited parenting advice. I’m fine with it, for the most part: people are entitled to their opinions, and I know that I bring it on myself by putting my personal life out there. I’m still working on accepting these opinions graciously: I want to be receptive to valid and well-meaning advice, while also remaining confident in my parenting decisions.
- I learned the hard way this week that leaving the diaper bag in the car—even for a brief amount of time—guarantees the occurance of a public blow-out. Note to self: the diaper bag is NOT an optional accessory!
- Velcro swaddlers are pretty handy, but that Velcro sticks to everything. I’m constantly getting stuck to my swaddled baby, and many of my tops are now snagged from putting them through the wash with the swaddlers.
- Pajamas with zippers make my life so much easier. Why is it that most baby clothing has snaps?!
- Over the last several weeks, I’ve been surprised to discover that there is a bit more extroverted-ness in me than I’d previously assumed. I’ve been slowly reentering society after weeks of partial sequestration following Charlie’s birth, and it’s led me to realize how much I’ve missed adult interaction. I would still categorize myself as an extreme introvert, but it turns out that I like people a bit more than I’d thought.
- After years of resisting E-Readers, I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy reading on a Kindle. I bought one for Luke for his birthday, and after a bit of prompting, I decided to try it out myself. . . and immediately became a Kindle convert. It’s so much easier to read an eBook than a paperback when breastfeeding, and I’m really enjoying the highlighting and note taking capabilities. I’m thankful that I have a husband who is more than happy to allow me to
take overshare his devices!
- If my reaction to the conclusion to Serial is truly a valid indicator, I apparently have a very high need for cognitive closure (NFC). It’s true that I dislike ambiguity, in real life as well as in fiction. I’ve always been a black-and-white thinker, and though I’m working to become more comfortable with shades of gray, I will always prefer stories and experiences that are more clear-cut.
- This month I’ve realized how much I process emotion, and fully experience my feelings, through the act of writing. I’d suspected that after Charlie’s birth, my journaling and blogging would fall by the wayside, but becoming a parent has led me to turn to these outlets more than ever. I’m finding that spending time writing at the end of the day helps me to fully excavate and evaluate my daily thoughts, actions, and emotions related to my new role as a mom.
What is the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve learned this month? Please share it with me in the comments! And head over to Chatting at the Sky to read what other bloggers have been learning this February.