I’m exactly 72 days into parenting. 10 weeks and some change. At this particular moment I’m sitting at Whole Foods, large latte and muffin beside me, while a dear friend is with my little prince. I’m rested, showered and happy to be out. And —finally, reflecting on motherhood. Lesson number 1: reflection goes out the window when you’re a new mom. Who has the time to reflect? Life is a daily grind and a constant shuffle of strategic attempts to keep your baby fed, sleeping and dry. Success is momentary: I got the baby to sleep (bonus points if it’s in one of the actual sleeping designations versus in my arms); he seems full, he had a good poop, a good burp, good toots … the fanfare over bodily functions is no small thing! Success also comes in the form of a shower, getting out of the house, a lovely stroller ride where my little one doesn’t scream his head off and a successful stroll around the house or Target with Eliot in the ergo. I don’t even feel reflective enough to say, “it’s the little things” because it IS the little things—they are BIG things, and every triumph is in earnest these days.
That said, today I’m reflecting. I’m reflecting and eating a piece of cake masked as a muffin (german chocolate muffin, seriously Whole Foods?) because really I’m celebrating my most recent success, which is a sleep schedule. For 8 consecutive days I’ve put Baby E down at 8 PM and he’s slept, minus two brief feedings, until 8 AM. I know enough to know not to get too attached to the good or the bad during these changing baby days but still [for now] … if I’m dealing with a good sleeper, this is a game changer. (I can’t help the optimism; it’s in my DNA!) When Eliot (and I would think this goes for ALL babies) gets good naps and good sleep at night, the world is a better place. Cue the chirping birds.
A few words about Eliot: He’s such a delight. He’s giving away smiles in spades these days and mostly just looks at me and the world around him with these big, curious dirt-brown eyes … like he knows something the rest of us don’t. He loves taking baths with me—loves being submerged in the water; he’s pretty chill with most people and often calms down when we go outside—the great equalizer, much like his mama. I can get lost with him most days in the cocoon of our home, listening to The Wiggles and reciting the nursery rhymes and rhythms I’m learning in baby yoga, provoking smiles and coos. Yesterday at BYOB (bring your own baby) Yoga another mom looked at us both and said, “He’s starting to look so much like you!” I just smiled, thinking of my little adopted embryo doppelgänger. What a little miracle, all of it.
It’s not all baby bliss. I get board. I get lonely. Occasionally I get blue. I’m impatient and cranky on days where the whining doesn’t seem to let up. But the mainstay of my mood has (thankfully) been one of optimism and gratitude. The love is real. And oh so sweet.
I’m heading back to work next week. Leaving my little cabbage with his “manny” (male nanny) starting Monday. His manny, who happens to live across the street, truly loves my little guy, which is the main comfort for a going-back-to-work mama. I’ll be working in three hour increments so in a way I’m dipping my toes into a world outside of baby. Still coming home to nurse. And before I know it he’ll be a quarter of a year old, then a year old, then in high school … make it stop!
If I have any true reflection from the past 72 days it is this: Parenting is a LOT of work. Babies are all need right out of the shoot, and unapologetically so. The crying jags are real; the witching hours (for us 5 PM-7 PM) are real, and the hormonal sways are real. But when I can totally surrender —generally what baby wants, baby gets —and maintain my sense of humor when plans are thwarted or baby makes a sport out of crying, the sweet moments are the sweetest of my life. And tomorrow is always a new day.
That’s all I got. (Literally. My time is up. Have to go relieve my friend and feed the baby!)