Baby C is getting closer and closer to hitting his first birthday. I can't believe it, and because I know this is my last child, I'm feeling a little bittersweet. There are plenty of things I know I will not miss about the baby stage, but when I stop to think about them, I have to admit that I'll miss them, in their own way. Nothing is ever all one thing, and even the biggest challenges have their moments of reward, in the end. Here are some of mine, from the baby stage.
I know I've had plenty of problems in the breastfeeding department, but the truth is, when it works, it's magical. Baby C caresses my face or my chest with his free hand, or he holds on to my shirt tightly. It can be such a wonderful time of bonding. Plus, it's so damn convenient, compared to all the food you have to start lugging around for them!
Okay, let's be real: it took eight long, difficult months for him to get it right, so that it wouldn't hurt like a sonofabitch every time he latched. Honestly, if I never have to feel that horrific ice pick sensation in my nipples again, it won't be too soon.
Lack of talking.
Once they start, ladies and gentlemen, they do NOT stop. And in those first few years, when they are still figuring out how to say what's in their sweet heads, without the complete vocabulary to do so? It's simultaneously adorable and stab-your-eyes-out frustrating to figure out what they mean.
In those moments when your baby is crying in pain, but you don't know why, all you want is for them to be able to tell you what's actually going on. And who doesn't want to hear their baby say real words instead of gibberish? All you need to do is go read one of my installments of Things Overheard This Week to know that it's hilarious to hear how their growing little brains think.
Lack of mobility.
Yes, I am mourning the days of being able to put baby C down and do whatever I need to do, until he starts crying for me to pick him up. GOD that was a convenient stage!! Now he's into every goddamn thing he can pull himself up to reach, and it can really suck, with a preschooler leaving shit everywhere. Crayons and Kleenex are favourites these days.
Okay, obviously I don't want my kid to never be able to crawl or walk. And truly, this is the first time we've had a baby who crawls (the Threenager scooted on her bum, and the Teen just went straight to walking), and I have to admit: it's kind of cute. Dirty hands aside, it's pretty awesome that, if he's upset about me leaving the room, he can just follow me now.
Complete dependence on an adult for everything.
This may sound strange, but there's something really profound about being responsible for another being so completely. Especially in the newborn stage, having to do everything from burping them to holding their heads upright. I don't quite know how to describe it, but there's something really beautiful about it, even though it is demanding.
It's seriously intensely demanding having to do absolutely everything for another human being. Even something as simple as getting them dressed involves having to pull their arm through the arm hole, their leg through the pant hole. Never mind feeding, changing, washing...it's so lovely when they start to do things here and there on their own.
HAHA just kidding. Teething doesn't end for another two years. Joke's on you if you thought it ended now.
Exclusive breast- or bottle-feeding
There is nothing in the world more convenient, snack-wise, than offering a boob. You don't have to haul around eight containers of bite-sized cheese cubes or grapes cut in half. And trust me, you DO have to haul that shit around, no matter how short the journey is that you're about to take. Because lord help you if you get asked for some water or crackers and you don't have any on hand! It won't be pretty.
Trying to find a quiet place to breastfeed, so they won't get distracted, can be goddamn impossible. So then you have a pissed off, hungry baby, food (in your boob) and no way to get it in him. Well that's just great, isn't it? Supremely frustrating. Bring on the snacks!
Babies grow so fast! Before you know it, all those times you found yourself complaining about will become the times you look back at with a smile and a tear in your eye, and you'll be wondering where the time went.
And then you'll be telling some random mom in the grocery store to enjoy every moment. HA!
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