Entries Tagged as 'life'
A long time ago, long before I was pregnant or we were even thinking about it, I remember having a conversation with a group of girls at a party thrown by a friend, and one of them had just had a baby. And when we pestered her for advice, she passed on the following words of wisdom:
“It’s a lot at the beginning, taking care of a newborn. The best advice I have is that when things feel completely overwhelming, just wait a week and everything will be different.”
In the past six weeks, I’ve thought a lot about that advice, and I’ve come to the conclusion that she is the single smartest person in the universe.
I remember those first few days when we got home from the hospital, when I was terrified to leave Bear in another room for five seconds at a time. It didn’t matter if he was in the crib, the Boppy, awake or asleep, crying or not (and most of the time, obviously, he was crying) — spending five seconds without my eyes squarely focused on him was way too long. Anything can happen to a baby in five seconds.
And I vividly remember, during that period, walking downstairs to get a cup of coffee and seeing that our kitchen counter was piled high with dishes. There were mugs and plates and water glasses and the pan that we use for cinnamon rolls and forks and spoons all filling up our sink.
I remember seeing that and thinking to myself, “Oh my god. We have this baby, and now we are never going to have time to do dishes ever again.”
I just couldn’t fathom that this tiny creature’s demands would ever let up, that there might ever be a time that he would sit quietly for a minute or two, allowing me to, say, load and unload the dishwasher.
Nope. In my mind, as the mom of a three-day-old, it would never happen. We were literally never going to have five seconds free again, at least until Bear went off to college.
But, you know what? Wait a week. Or maybe six weeks, but you get the idea.
Last night, after Bear was asleep, but before Chad and I at dinner, I walked around the house cleaning up the little messes that had accumulated in the last month. I moved papers that had gathered in the wrong spots, I collected water glasses and receipts and baby products that were scattered around our living room and kitchen. I moved the car seat away from the center of living room. I opened the Amazon boxes. I did all those tiny little chores that we’ve so rarely had time to do for the last few weeks, and then I looked around our mostly clean house and felt the most incredible sense of relief.
Because no matter how overwhelming taking care of Bear was in those first few days: It got better. It got a lot easier, and it didn’t last forever. It was impossible to conceptualize it in those first few days, but my friend’s advice was spot on.
Sure, he still has bad nights and days where he cries so much that I feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted. But a few weeks have passed, and I can do the dishes. I can shower and put on makeup (sometimes). I can check my email and write a blog post here and there.
And I can look at our baby and think about how much he’s changed in the course of a month, how much more easily he can adjust to new things in the world, and how much bigger and stronger and healthier he seems now than in those terrifying newborn days.
This picture already feels like a lifetime ago.
Of course, the flip side to everything getting easier is that it seems like every day brings some tiny change, some small measure of independence from me and some tiny step towards becoming his own person.
I find myself getting a little bit sad with every milestone — the first time he fell back asleep on his own without me rocking him, I was relieved but also felt incredibly bittersweet. Someday, hopefully a long time from now, a day will come when I’ll rock him back to sleep for the last time, and after that he’ll do it on his own, without me — and as much as I’m grateful for all the ways he gets a little easier as he grows up, I’m also not rushing them, because I know someday I’ll miss these moments where he needs me for comfort, for all of the little things that I’m happy to provide him.
Because in a week, for better or worse, it might all be different.
Tags: baby · life
Today is Chad’s first Father’s Day.
He’s not one for holiday attention — most years, I have to nag him to open his birthday presents, sometimes weeks after the actual day has come and gone. He’s never once, in ten years together, asked me for a party or to make a big deal over anything centered around him. (I’ve thrown him a few anyways, because, come on, this girl likes to throw a party.)
But on this holiday, I’ve got to say a little something, even if it embarrasses him.
Seven weeks ago, we met our baby boy. And in the weeks since that moment, our lives have basically turned upside down — with too many decisions and worries and amazing, joyful moments to count.
Before that moment, our ideas of motherhood and fatherhood were purely hypothetical — “here’s what we’ll do when we have kids, someday.” But in the last seven weeks, something changed — we actually know our son. Our ideas of what we’ll be as parents aren’t just ideas, some of them are actually happening right now. Sure, we don’t know him as well as we will in a year, or in ten years, but this little person — with all his likes and dislikes and needs and wants — is starting to become himself.
And, somewhere along the line, Chad and I became parents.
In these last few weeks, I have gotten so much joy from watching Chad with the baby — whether he’s rocking Bear to sleep, doing voices for his storybooks, or just snuggling with him at the end of the day. They haven’t been the easiest weeks — but they are weeks that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Our first moments of parenthood, our first days with our newborn son — they’re etched into my memory forever.
So on his first Father’s Day, I am so very grateful to be sharing this journey with my wonderful husband. I know he will be (and already is) the most wonderful father to our baby boy, and I am so, so very excited to see their relationship grow.
Happy Father’s Day to Chad, and all the wonderful fathers in our lives!
Tags: baby · life
I have to tell you a little story about that jar of Vaseline.
It arrived a few weeks before Bear was born, from their lovely PR team. I looked at it and thought, cool, a bedazzled Vaseline jar — just what his nursery needs! (Proof on Instagram here!)
Then I looked online, just out of curiosity. How much might a bedazzled jar of Vaseline cost?
Five hundred dollars. (Seriously.)
Basically, Bear had just been given Kim Kardashian’s Vaseline jar. It’s a treasure. That jar of Vaseline is literally more expensive than any single item in his nursery. Forget the designer bedding, the crib, the rug, the Tiffany piggy bank. The most valuable item our son owns is now a jar of Vaseline.
No problem, right? How hard can it be to take care of a jar of Vaseline?
Ha ha. That was my pre-newborn self talking.
Because… you want to know what happened to that five hundred dollar jar of Vaseline in the first week that he was home from the hospital?
Yup, because, see, Bear hates having his diaper changed. He hates it so much that, periodically, I pause mid-diaper change to remind him, “I am not actually murdering you, dude. Please calm down.”
He hates it so much that he basically loses control of his limbs, sending everything near him crashing to the ground.
Including, sadly, his most valuable possession.
So, that top photo? That was my expectation of what a newborn would be like: all sweet little toes and chubby legs.
The next one? That’s the newborn that I wasn’t quite expecting, the one that cries over nothing and pukes directly into my hair seven times a day. (The one that peed on me twice yesterday, sigh.)
The last five weeks have been a crazy, wild ride, and there are literally thousands of things that I wasn’t expecting that have totally blown me away. No matter how prepared I was (and I was!), the reality of having a real, live baby in our house is completely different from my expectation of it. Sometimes it’s wonderful and sometimes, many times, it’s truly a challenge.
But before he arrived, I had no idea the depth of the love that I would feel for him, how strongly I felt it at first and how much stronger it grows every day. And I would take the reality of our crying, flailing baby (even puking in my hair) over all the perfect imaginary babies out there.
And who knows? Maybe in a few weeks, that jar of Vaseline will go on sale and we can replace it.
Tags: baby · life