I can’t believe that it’s been 6 months since Oden nuzzled my cheek for the very first time. Having a child has a crazy effect on time, and it reiterates a phrase I’ve heard from more than one mom: the days are long but the years are short. There are some days that feel like they will never end, and they usually include a nap boycott or a teething fever or something unpleasant for everyone. And yet, Oden’s first 6 months of life have gone by in a flash.
Some parts of my life are unrecognizable anymore, and I do things I never envisioned I’d do. To any mamas-to-be, be prepared! Someday, you WILL find yourself:
- using your skirt as a burp cloth
- wiping drool or spit-up away from your baby’s mouth with your bare hands
- licking your hand and attempting to control your baby’s crazy hair
- leaving the house without makeup or matching clothes
- forgetting to eat
- talking to yourself or the dog in baby talk
- irrationally checking to see if your baby is still breathing 73 times during one nap
- being unable to resist leaning down and kissing the sleeping baby in your arms, despite the fact that you just spent 45 minutes trying to get him to sleep and your kiss might wake the beast
- discovering poo on yourself somewhere and wondering how long it’s been there
- silently thanking your own mother for raising you because now you GET IT
- scrolling through your phone and crying at baby photos and videos from a few months ago because so much has changed already
- sticking your nose in your baby’s diaper or opening the side of it to see if he’s made you a poopy present…in public
It would be silly of me to say that I’ve got this motherhood thing down by now. I may have a better handle on certain things, like how to get Oden’s arms into a onesie or how to trim his tiny fingernails safely or how to avoid getting peed on during a diaper change. (Most of the time. Fine, it happened twice yesterday.) But just when I feel like I’ve got something down, something new to learn pops up. I start each day with a goal of being better than the day before: more patient, more loving, more present, more fun. Being a mommy is hard- harder than one is able to explain to someone who hasn’t been there. But my reward is a healthy, happy baby who smiles a lot, often just for me. I’ll never be an “expert” mom, but I know I’d get an A for effort. Here are a few things that I’ve learned over the last 6 months!
Teething is as challenging as you’ve heard. Once a little sharp tooth pops through those swollen gums and your baby gets a moment of relief, another one starts making its way to the surface.
Oden is not really a snuggly baby. I try to get him to cuddle into me but it’s only when he’s exhausted or falling asleep on me that he’ll grip my shirt or nuzzle into my neck.
C-section surgery takes a long time to heal. Like it still hurts. 6 months later.
It does “get easier”, but there’s always something new that’s hard!
My biggest job is to support and encourage Oden while he learns things on his own. It’s so rewarding to watch him learning to sit up or hold his own bottle or eat food!
Sleeplessness is difficult. And it never ends! I’ve had one uninterrupted night of sleep since before Oden was born, thanks to my hubby who made it happen. It was heaven.
A child is a little sponge, even at this young age. It’s awesome to see Oden watching us intently. He watches our feet when he’s in the jumper and copies our movements. He watches our mouths while he’s trying to make sounds. He watches John’s hands while he plays guitar. He watches how we treat Cholula and pets her like we do. But he also watches us when we are glued to our phones or pouring another cocktail or bickering with each other. It’s a big responsibility to be a good example for my baby.
A complete shower, with shampoo and separate conditioner, exfoliation, shaving, etc. is a rare and precious thing. It’s more about bar soap for everything and 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. My hair dryer broke weeks ago and I haven’t gotten a new one, if that tells you anything about my “getting ready” routine these days!
How to solidify a napping/sleep schedule might involve a Masters Degree. I wish I could make Oden understand how precious sleep is and what a magical gift a nap can be! Finding a routine has eluded us thus far.
Nothing is more difficult as a mother than hearing your child cry. I literally cannot handle it on a physical level. I must. Help. My baby. It makes me cry when he does!
It’s all about poo: color, consistency, frequency, and amount! It’s shocking how closely I inspect a diaper some days. But look at these chubby legs!
Balance between mom life and non-mom life is essential. This could mean different things for different moms, but for me, it means making time to exercise, give love to Cholula, accomplish things on my list, and connect with John and friends. I’m very thankful for our part-time nanny who loves Oden and lets me take little breaks for “me” time. It recharges my battery.
That perfect love you feel for your baby miraculously continues to grow as he does.
And finally, it’s true what everyone says…they really DO grow up so fast.
Parenthood is challenging and magical at the same time. There are moments of great love, abounding success, nonexistent patience, and debilitating failure in every day. And then morning comes and you wake up to a chubby, gurgling little being and your heart explodes with love. It explodes again and again, as you watch your baby reach another milestone or introduce him to a “first time” for something or see his individual personality starting to shine through. In those moments, you realize it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.
Cheers to the next 6 months! (Time, slow down!)
One year ago: We announced our long-awaited pregnancy!