“It’s your turn,” I blearily mumble to my husband. Except, since I’m still exclusively breastfeeding my almost-6 month old, it’s always my turn. There are times, of course, when she wakes up at night and really doesn’t need to be fed (I just fed her an hour ago, there’s no way she’s hungry again… except there is, because #clusterfeeding), and then my husband can–and does–rock her back to dreamland. But most of the time, even when he changes her diaper, she’ll need to be nursed back to sleep. The frequent night-time wake-ups and living on less sleep than I got during grad school has certainly not been easy, to say the least.
Then there’s the spit up everywhere: on her clothes, necessitating a new onesie every 2 hours; on MY clothes, necessitating an extra change (or two) in my car for work; in my HAIR, necessitating a hair tie even on a good hair day; down my bra, for which there is really just nothing to be done… you get the picture.
And we won’t even talk about the blow outs…
which, of course, because I have her with me at work, have happened on my work clothes, and of course, it was on the ONE DAY I forgot to pack an extra set of clothing for me.
I could go on and on about the difficulties of having a newborn (and now not-so-newborn) baby, but if you’re a mom, chances are you’ve lived through this and know them all too well.
So rather than continue my list of all the reasons this is so hard, I’ll tell you instead all the reasons I am actually really going to miss this as my daughter grows out of the baby stage.
Is there anything better than cuddling with a sleepy, soft, warm, deliciously milky-smelling baby?
The closeness I feel to her when her head is resting on my shoulder, and she melts into me as she finally, after fighting it for a half hour, falls asleep… not much can compare to that feeling. As she gets older, more mobile, and as we try to get her to fall asleep on her own, I get less and less time like this with her.
The rolls… Oh, the rolls! Although this particular little one’s rolls are so extensive I have to work hard to keep them clean and dry, I could spend all day squeezing her Michelin man arms and thighs. I can’t put shoes on her, either, because her feet are so thick with baby fat! And why would I want to cover it up, anyway?
My little girl does not hold back on sharing smiles and laughter, either.
I heard the other day that children laugh something like 200 times per day, while adults usually laugh less than 15.
Right now, my favorite game to play with Mina is looking away from her, then looking back quickly with a different face (surprise, excitement, sadness, whatever). She giggles and laughs and becomes hysterical in a matter of seconds, and we can play this game for 10 minutes without her getting bored. I have worked with older kids in my job and at church, so I know that as she gets older, my ability to hold her attention for that long, let alone amuse her this much, will be very limited; so her laughter now is the sweetest thing I could hope to hear!
And it’s not just the laughter; her babbling and cooing and playing with her voice are all such fun things to hear. While I’m excited for her to be able to say “mama,” and string sentences together one day, I’m not quite as excited for the dreaded “no!” and back-talking that will inevitably begin along with that. I will definitely miss these cute non-words when they start to disappear.
I used to think the head-tilt puppies do when they see something for the first time was the cutest reaction to novelty. Now having my little girl, the surprise and the startled reaction she shows whenever she watches me make a new face, or hears a new noise, or finds out for the 100th time that no, I did not disappear behind that blanket while playing peek-a-boo… I know that truly is the most adorable thing.
And let’s not forget the insane amount of excitement and pride (and a healthy dose of fear) I feel with every new thing she learns to do. She is in the process of figuring out crawling right now, and while part of me wants to knock her down so she doesn’t go ANYWHERE, the majority of me is cheering her on with I’m sure the same feeling the mom of an Olympic athlete has as they cross the finish line of the biggest race of her life.
While I will miss all these things as she grows, I am also thrilled to experience all the ways she will continue to grow into her own personality, with her own opinions, desires, and path.