On the eve of my second baby’s first birthday, I found myself contemplating our past year of life together. I decided quite definitively that as far as baby milestones are concerned, one of my favorites is the day my babies turn one.
I’ve had a great many friends lament the coming of a first birthday, finding themselves saddened at the loss of their little one’s babyhood, but I have never been that mom. That’s not to say that there aren’t certain things I’ll miss about having a tiny, squishy baby — I mean, the open-mouthed baby kisses are pretty endearing — but overall I find the first go-round the sun to be a joyful occasion.
Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been what most people would consider a “baby person.” I was never that girl itching to hold other people’s babies. Of course I think babies are adorable to look at, but aside from the cuteness factor, they’re not really my favorite. In general I find them to be a bit too delicate and blobby for my liking (and lacking much of a skill set if you really want to know the truth). Until they reach somewhere around 6 to 9 months old, babies kind of just sit there … crying, eating, pooping, and sleeping (or more accurately not sleeping). Sometimes they’ll give you a chuckle or babble some words, but for the most part they aren’t exactly thrilling company.
Babies are needy, in this ever-changing way that exhausts you like nothing else. So, by the time the end of the first year rolls around, I find myself feeling a sense of relief and excitement. I find myself thinking, “Phew! We finally made it out of the woods! It was touch-and-go there for a second, but we survived!”
Honestly, I’m pretty sure that keeping a tiny human alive for an entire year is more cause for celebration than anything else I’ve done in my life. At times it feels almost like I survived my own real-life version of The Hunger Games where my husband and I, ill-equipped, are dropped off in some strange situation where we must fight to the death and survive a series of unpredictable challenges in the hopes of emerging victorious in the end.
OK … maybe not so much like The Hunger Games, because there was definitely not any fighting-to-the-death going on and my signature “mom braid” definitely didn’t look eighth as cool as Katniss Everdeen’s, but you know … survival. Totally the same, right? And I mean, if we survived the Baby Hunger Games, then I’m pretty sure we should at the very least eat some cake with smiles on our faces.
Lest you think I spent the entire first year of my babies’ lives feeling overwhelmed and grumpy and bitter, I assure you it’s not the case. Even though I don’t love babies, I do love my babies. There are a lot of things I will look back on fondly from my children’s’ babyhood — especially the things that came after they started sleeping through the night and I felt a little less like a zombie.
I will remember the sweet baby kisses and the midnight nursing sessions and the sweetness of that very first laugh. I will remember those tiny hands and knuckle dimples and lounging around on warm days in nothing but a diaper and adorable baby chub.
Those moments were all perfectly wonderful, and I’m not trying to rush through my kids’ childhood, but I am very much looking forward to the next stage. Even though I feel slight twinges of almost-sadness at my baby boy turning one, I know what is to come (I have a 3-year-old daughter already) and I know how sweet it will be. I can’t wait for his little personality to bloom and to really get to know who he is and what he likes. I cant wait to have conversations and mommy and son adventures together. We have so many fun memories to make and I can’t wait to take it on together.
In the words of the ever-wise Dr. Seuss (and millions of high school graduates giving speeches): “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Amen and amen. Peace out year one! And year two? Bring it!More On