May 1, 2008
I've had a string of friends have their first babies in the last couple months and visiting these tired new moms and their wrinkly little bundles has got me daydreaming about this time last year, getting ready to have my own first baby.
I did most of my daydreaming over the weekend, while in bed waiting to die from the 24-hour stomach bug. (If any of my new mom friends are interested in a quick post-partum weight loss plan, I highly recommend the 24-hour stomach bug. Seven pounds in one day! That's impressive, folks!) It was a particularly sunny weekend for the Pacific Northwest and I was stuck listening to lawn mowers and neighbors' barbecues through my open bedroom window. I remembered how I didn't really experience the outdoors last spring either, cooped up as I was with my brand new infant and our Boppy pillow.
This time last year I was training my replacement at work. I was considering setting fire to the maternity clothes that no longer fit me. I was combing the internet for advice on what to pack in your hospital bag. I was washing heaps of tiny onesies and stuffing my new cloth pocket diapers and adjusting the way the quilt draped over the crib rail.
And then the baby is born and the last thing you're thinking about is how nice the bedding looks with the crib. Chances are the baby doesn't even sleep in the crib. The only place he'll sleep is in the car seat or the swing or, in my case, with his head nestled into the uncomfortable spot right below your chin.
You're grateful you washed those onesies weeks ago because you sure don't have time do any laundry now. You dazedly hand the baby off to a grandmother so you can take a two-minute shower and you are vaguely aware of friends dropping off frozen lasagnas and gift bags of baby clothes. You wish you were a little more aware of your surroundings, but the truth is you've become a 24-hour dining hall. You feel chained to your bed or the rocking chair or the couch (or the pump) and how is it possible that he already needs to eat again?
Right when you think your baby will never sleep anywhere but on your chest, that he'll never stop crying and that it will always ALWAYS take an hour to feed him -- he smiles at you. A smile! But maybe it's gas? A facial twitch? If you are me you rush over to your computer to ask the internet who assures you that yes, that's a real smile.
Suddenly, everything feels incredibly worth it.
In the weeks before my baby turns one we're dealing with stomach bugs and demanding work projects and falling down stairs (OH YES, IT HAPPENED) and planning a first birthday party. I'm doing all these things with a kid - an actual KID - who's taken his first steps, who gets his milk from a cup, who smiles constantly.
And thinking about getting to do it all over again in September.