I read this the other day and thought about the time when I said to my husband, “I can’t imagine life without a baby now”. That was when Michael was around six months old, and we’d both laughed a little incredulously at my statement, because well… who would have thought.
Then just a couple of days ago, I was asked by a friend who is barely two weeks postpartum with her first baby how I could bring myself to do it all again. I couldn’t adequately explain myself. I said something about smiling more in the past year than in my entire life put together. Which is an overstatement but I am indeed smiling a lot these days. Even when it’s hard to smile – when life throws lemons and the lemonade you make is sour and who wants to drink lemonade anyway – I am smiling because I hear little hands slapping heavily down the hallway, and I know a little person is looking for me. I am smiling despite this knot inside of me because he is wrinkling his nose and giggling to himself at some private baby joke which I will never get to hear. I am smiling even when my heart is breaking for several reasons because he is just plain ridiculously adorable with his Michelin man arms and the way he goes all weak with joy and sucks his thumb on auto mode when I give him his pillow. Everything is just perfect even when it’s not. I am pulled out of myself – out of my past, my future, my fears, my obsessions, and I am just existing here, breathing in my baby.
Before Michael, I’d never been a baby person, or a child person. I didn’t know what to do with them. (I still don’t know what to do with any human being who is older than my son and younger than a teenager, to be honest.) Directly after Michael arrived on the scene, I became even more anti baby. Newborns are so… screechy, so demanding, so utterly exhausting, and not even cute, generally.
They don’t smile for weeks. And during this time, Michael had colic, which certainly didn’t do him any favours. I was convinced that the baby stage would just have to be endured – teeth gritted, head down, lets just get through this, shall we.
When the first smiles came in at around one or two months, it got a little better, but I was still deep in the murky waters of EXHAUSTION and not a day went by that I didn’t google “when does it get better”.
Not right now, it doesn’t.
Then, at three to four months… It got even better. Light years better. The scrawny, squawky creature was replaced by something softer around the edges.
And that’s when cute came, and took over my life. You thought your pet baby rabbit was cute? (I did.) Wait till you have a baby. It’s not even describable, how overwhelming the cuteness is.
And you are assaulted by it all day long. It’s totally relentless.
It’s not that I like babies in general (although now, I guess I do, kind of, depending). I just really really really like mine. And while teenagers are cool and all I’m sure (yikes), all of this sumptuous, voluptuous, sweet smelling baby is going to be so hard to move on from.