Tag Archives: babies

Of Cuddles and Babies and Leaving the Dishes.

After the initial shock has worn off, I find that I am anticipating a brief return to the life of floppy newborn snuggles and baby delights. While knowing that I will have a teenager and a threenager at the same time is daunting, I also know how very, very quickly those intense, tiny years fly by. Soon I will blink and this bonus doodle will also be potty trained and beginning to read and able to buckle his/her own car seat. I know how quickly the years pass because I have already flown through them once. As a seasoned traveler, I am less anxious this time around (please remind me of this when I re-enter the potty training years.)

There is a temptation, I think, for those of us through those years, especially those who look on those years through the tinted lenses of nostalgia or regret, to try to encourage new mothers by reminding them of how short the years are. Sometimes those encouragements come in the form of “reminders,” in many and varied poetic form, that babies won’t stay babies, along with an admonition that everything else will still be there when the baby grows up. The result, unfortunately, is that when you’re washing dishes, so the rest of your family doesn’t get food poisoning and die, you hear this poem in your head and feel guilty for not rocking that baby who will be grown so quickly, but when you’re rocking and feeding and walking and bouncing that baby so many times you’re feeling guilty for not cherishing it all in your heart. Not so encouraging in those fragile months of limited sleep and hormonal unrest.

Here is what I know going into the baby years again, that I wish I had known the first time around. Maybe this will help someone walking those sleepless floors, wearing exhaustion and spit up.

The baby years are short, but these aren’t the only snuggles you will have. This completely dependent little one will grow up so quickly you will wonder where it went, but my nine year old mackerdoodle still holds my hand crossing the grocery store parking lot. The cheesedoodle will turn eight in two weeks, and he still wants to start his morning with a mama snuggle before breakfast. I haven’t walked a floor to calm a child in years, but every time I sit down at least one child wants to sit beside me, and rest a head on my shoulder, or a hand on my arm. Yes, the baby years have a sweetness to them unlike any other, but so do all the other stages. This is not the only shot at sweetness.

Yes these years pass quickly, but the beauty of parenting doesn’t pass with them. They won’t always need your hand, but they may still choose to hold it. Soon you won’t be able to carry them to bed at night, or sling them up on your shoulders, but you will continue to carry them in ways too numerous to count. They won’t always call out for you in the middle of the night, but they will still want to tell you about their dreams (real and imagined) in the morning. They won’t always need food at inconvenient times and places, but that bonding over a meal isn’t going away soon. It’s true that “babies don’t keep,” but the love and the beauty and uniqueness of motherhood grows with them. Even those tasks you may feel are sucking away precious memory time will become side by side moments of learning, and chatting, and “soul snuggling.”

Hold the baby, rock the baby, and wash a dish or some clothes, or wipe some dust along the way. This adventure is a marathon, not a sprint.


Closing of a Door

All of the doodles have dropped their naps near the 2 year mark. The mackerdoodle was a little before, but as is the case with first time parents and first born children it took us a little while to recognize the signs. The cheesedoodle was a little after. I thought that maybe the snickerdoodle would break with tradition and nap into her third year like I hear some children do, but it is not to be. She lay in her bed for 45 minutes this afternoon without so much as a long blink. I suspect she’ll be completely nap free before her second birthday next month.

There is a sense in which I am, not exactly sad, but certainly a little pensive regarding this transition. When the mackerdoodle left behind her nap her brother was a sleepy newborn and when he dropped his nap, I was trying to negotiate the snickerdoodle’s Pavlik harness sleep positions. But here we are at a place where no naps for one means no naps for all and that is a bit of a closing of a door.

It is, however, a welcome closing of a door. Yes, it is saying goodbye to the sweet cuddly baby years, but having a child in school and another one napping becomes quite the juggling act some days. No naps make two services on Sunday far more easily managed. It makes hospitality (both giving and receiving) less cumbersome and in general is just easier to plan life.

This evening, however, I remembered the main reason I have enjoyed transition out of naps with each of my children. Last night it took the snickerdoodle 45 minutes of somersaults and singing to fall asleep. Tonight it was 4.5 minutes from turning out the lights to snores. That is a door that I am happy to close!

I Wish . . .

During my childless days I would often hear mothers say, when looking at a newborn or infant, “I wish they would stay that little forever.”

I used to think, “What? Are you some sort of masochist?”

Today the snickerdoodle woke up happy and cooing, and as I went to collect her happy baby self, I could hear the older doodles in the living room. The conversation sounded like this:

M: Leave me ALONE!

C: uh-UH!

m: I’m trying to play wif my PONIES! Leave me ALONE!

C: uh-UH! uh-UH!

M: Mama! Help!

For just a brief minute I found myself looking at this little bundle of hugs and smiling cuteness and thinking, “I wish you could stay . . .”

Because she’s the easiest she’s ever going to be right now.

The easiest and the hardest. The most delightful and the most exhausting.

When the doodles are teens they will be the easiest and the hardest, the most delightful and the most exhausting. Each stage is wonderful and challenging and delightful and disgusting and I want to live through them all, in the moment, without wishing myself back to the past, or ahead to the next place.

So I don’t wish.

Most of the time.