My best friend had the most adorable baby just a few weeks ago. Seeing the pictures of her little two-week old does this funny thing to me. I just want to hold that precious little baby. No, actually, I want to HAVE a precious little two-week old baby. Like, now. Which is strange, because I know for a fact that I hated the newborn stage with Hannah.
The rose-colored amnesia goggles that come standard issue with a baby, my god they are powerful. I vaguely remember those first few weeks being pretty goddamn awful, but then I try to think about what exactly was so hard and I can't really come up with anything concrete. The lack of sleep, yes. The constant breastfeeding struggles, definitely. The five-hour daily crying jags, oh my god I forgot about those. Did they really happen? Surely they didn't last that long? And it definitely couldn't have been as bad as I made it out to be?
The truth is, and trust me I feel awful for saying this, those first few weeks -- hell, those first few MONTHS -- were possibly the worst of my life. I know how insanely lucky I was: healthy baby, easy recovery (as far as recovering from childbirth is ever "easy"), an incredibly supportive husband and family, a roof over our heads and enough money to buy the things we needed. I could have asked for nothing more. But still, it was probably the darkest time for me emotionally. Fucking hormones, man. I don't know what else to blame it on. Hormones and lack of sleep and the crushing permanence of it all. I don't ever want to go back there.
Except we want more kids, so hopefully I will be going back there.
Things now could not be more different. Life just feels... easy. It feels wrong to say that life with a 10-month-old could be easy. I mean, it's not easy all the time. Nothing is. Hannah's been cutting three top teeth for months -- not exaggerating, these little fuckers have been taunting us from just below the surface of her gums since before Joel left for China -- and she just stops playing, sticks her fingers in her mouth, and starts wailing sometimes. She is obsessed with Henry's litterbox and if she thinks I'm not paying attention for one minute she will try to climb in it. She takes things out of the cabinets faster than I can put her last mess away.
But who gives a crap about any of that? She is sleeping at night (another post for another day, perhaps, but let me just say THANK YOU DR FERBER) and taking excellent naps at predictable times. This is so liberating, I cannot even tell you. No more dreading 7pm because I know a bedtime battle is coming. No more wasting the entire day, not going anywhere because I'm positive she is about to fall asleep only to have her stay wide awake for five straight hours. No more staring at the monitor after I put her down, just waiting for the crying to start. Now she wakes up happy and babbles in her crib until I to get her. She is so big and doing so much awesome stuff, and I just want to pause her and stay at 10 months forever.
Back during those dark early months I had an utter life crisis. I never really had a career, I just had a series of fairly unrelated jobs. That was OK with me because what I really wanted to be for as long as I can remember -- prepare yourself, this is going to sound slightly pathetic and very anti-feminist -- is a stay at home mom. It's what I pictured myself doing when I was a kid. It's what Joel and I agreed on long before we were even married. Its what I fantasized about when I was stuck in a shitty job that I hated. And then it became a reality and... I didn't like it. I thought I'd made a terrible mistake. I seriously considered going back to work just to get a break from the crying and the getting pooped on and the endless feedings. I wish there was an It Gets Better campaign for new mothers. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself that it will all be OK. It'll be better than OK. It will be amazing.
So all you new moms out there: it gets better. Suddenly you'll realize that instead of wishing that you could just fast forward time, you're wishing you could pause it and stay here forever. Even if you're not having a terrible time, it STILL gets better. This is the most amazing thing about having a kid. No matter how awesome they are, they just keep getting awesomer.
I wish I could pause things right now. But I can't. So I'm just trying to enjoy each hour and each day and instead of wishing that time would slow down I'm trusting that the future will be even better.
A few "firsts" from recent weeks...
Baby's first time in an airport!
Baby's first time on an airplane! (Not mom's first time making a stupid face in an attempt to get baby to smile.)
Baby's first time being totally unimpressed with a pool!
Baby's first time opening a drawer!
And a cabinet!
Baby telling us it's time to babyproof!
Baby's first jeggings!
Baby looking.... less like a baby and more like a kid every day.