Five of my girlfriends have had babies within the last two months. My childhood best friend had her first son, Simon, last week; and coincidentally, so did my longtime BFF from college—she had an adorable boy named Aiden last Wednesday.
‘Tis the season for having babies! When talking to a couple of my girlfriends who are navigating motherhood for the first time, I found myself trying to pass along sage parenting advice. After 16 months of being a mom myself, I already feel like a pro. But trying to recall the different stages Preston went through when he was a newborn, that’s a different story. It’s funny how our selective memory works when it comes to having kids. Oh, that little surgery? The c-section wasn’t that bad—sure. The first night home from the hospital? It’s a picnic. The sleep-deprivation you experience the first three months? No big thing at all.
If we remembered how hard it really was, would we ever actually do it again?
The truth is, all the sacrifices you make and sleepless nights you endure are more than worth it, especially during those special moments—like that first smile, or their first words, or when they give you that first real hug and kiss goodnight. No matter how hard it gets—and it does get hard, really hard—I wouldn’t have done anything differently with Preston. And I know my mom friends, even the new ones, will all feel the exact same way.
So I dug deep to remember the 10 best baby moments of 2010, as a tribute to my girlfriends and their beautiful new babies. Just remember, girls, it’s all about developing a parenting routine that works for you. It’s what saved us the last 16 months (heck, we JUST put away our bottle sterilizer yesterday, no joke).
So, here they are: the good, the bad, and the beautiful.
Best baby moment #1: Preston’s bris. That might seem like a weird thing to put on the list, especially now with all the controversy around circumcisions, but hear me out: Though it was eight days after he was born and there were at least 100 people at my mom’s house for it—beyond overwhelming!—I’ll never forget what a special day that was for me. I was so nervous obviously, but it was such a meaningful occasion—and it was the first time I really felt like a “mom.” Protective. Worried. Emotional. (Okay, horrified.) I actually physically felt his pain more than he did. (He barely let out a peep.) And then my husband gave the most beautiful speech that totally took me by surprise, explaining the meaning behind his name (Preston Wolf, after my late paternal grandfather Paul P. Preston, and Jay’s late maternal grandfather Wolf Danziger). A very precious moment indeed.
Best baby moment #2: Preston’s first bath. This one would fall under the “yikes” category. Does any newborn actually like getting a sponge bath? The reason this one sticks out is, I could actually see Preston’s tonsils when he was screaming his head off as our baby nurse showed us how to bathe him. First time he actually cried like that. That’s when I came to the scary realization: This kid has my lungs, and not in a good way.
Best baby moment #3: Preston’s first road trip. Only two weeks after he was born, Jay and I made a last-minute decision to join our friends at a lake house in Michigan for the night. Now, one night is normally not a big deal, but we brought a two-week-old baby AND our less-than-a-year-old-dog Barkley—the car was so jam-packed with “stuff” there was barely enough room for me. First lesson in traveling with a baby, eliminate the "stuff" by half. And bring booze.
Best baby moment #4: Our 1st wedding anniversary, on Sept. 21, 2009, barely a month after Preston was born. We took him to dinner with us to celebrate, at The Drake Hotel where we had gotten married only a year prior. And what a year it was! One of the best memories I have of the last 16 months, celebrating my one-year anniversary with Jay and Preston.
Best baby moment #5: Preston’s first time at a bar! We were the kind of parents that took our newborn EVERYWHERE with us. Yes, even to bars. (I’m a former nightlife columnist, are you surprised?) We toted him along to a bar in our neighborhood for the NFL playoffs last year, and he was the life of the potty, er, party. This would set the stage for long days at bars during March Madness with his daddy, and many more like it that are sure to come.
Best baby moment #6: At four months old, Preston said “dada,” and at eight months old he said “mama.” And now “mama” is his catch-all word for everyone and everything, so there!
Best baby moment #7: At five months old, Preston was pretty much sleeping through the night, save for a few random wake-ups that would happen in month seven. He was always a good sleeper, but then went through a bad spurt in month four, so we "Ferberized" him and that pretty much did the trick.
Best baby moment #8: Our big family vacation with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and their three kids, in Scottsdale, Arizona (where my in-laws live, too!), in February of this year, when Preston was only five-and-a-half-months old. This was his second time in Arizona, and he was just as good on the plane as he was when we visited my in-laws at only two months old. This particular trip made the list because it was the last week-long vacation I’ve taken, and the last time I’ve spent a full uninterrupted week with Preston, which I cherished even amidst all the chaos.
Best baby moment #9: Preston’s first Cubs game. My husband is a lifelong, diehard Cubs fan, so this was a very special day for us. And it gave me a great idea for a theme for his one-year birthday party, which was right around the corner…
Best baby moment #10: Preston finally “crawls,” or rather, army-crawls for the first time, when he was almost 13 months old. Yes, you read that correctly, he wasn’t even crawling at his one-year birthday party. He was late on all the physical milestones (he has since perfected the crawl on all fours but has yet to take his first steps). Friend me on Facebook and watch the video of Preston crawling for the first time, all caught on camera! It’s pretty priceless.
I want to thank all of you for letting me share my milestones and experiences with you, my first year as a mom and mommy-blogger. I’ve loved reading all of your comments, and I can honestly say that writing this blog every week has not only helped me gain perspective as a new(ish) mom but it’s also helped me BE a better mom, just by understanding what so many other women go through. Here’s to learning more about each other in 2011! Happy New Year!