The Sweetest

January 20, 2010

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children, and no theories. ~John Wilmot

Before you have a baby, you think you know what you are getting yourself into.  You read parenting books.  You research online.  You talk to your tummy and get the nursery ready.  You buy nursing bras.  You get advice (some unsolicited) from friends and relatives.  You are ready for labor, sore breasts, colic, formula, cloth diapers, disposable diapers, swaddling, sleep training, solids, teething, and toddling.

You are prepared to be tired.

You are prepared to have a flabby stomach.

You fantasize about your baby’s first coo and smile.

And then nothing goes according to plan.  Your labor and delivery cover three calendar days (you did not think this was possible).  Your nipples are sore but nothing is coming out.  Your baby cries even when you hold him.  And you are crying, too.  People warned you about fatigue- they did not tell you it would be emotional fatigue.

And then, s-l-o-w-l-y, things fall into place.  You find a way to feed your baby.  You swaddle and jiggle.  You laugh at the poop and get sprayed with pee.  You are still so-very-tired…

But there is sweetness in being able to calm your screaming baby.   In the smell of his ear and his first smile.   In the way he reacts to his first pureéd food.  In the delight he takes in his first steps.  In the first time he says he loves you or gives you a wet kiss.  In the sweetest way, he is now giving back to me, to my husband, and to each person he meets.   As he approaches life and with joy and abandon, he reminds me to live in the moment- something we can all strive for.

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