A WHOLE year of baby goodness has flown by. That was so fast and so slow all at the same time! Is that even possible? Yes. The days are long but the years are short…I think every mom would agree with me on that one!
In light of this milestone, I thought I would attempt to list a few “then vs. now’s” in order to reminisce and share what I have experienced. I’m also hoping I’m not the only one who is at the “removing dog food from child’s mouth,” and the “nightly trash can rummage” to make sure there aren’t any magnets, books, or dad’s glasses somewhere amidst the coffee grounds phase. Otherwise.. [insert nervous laugh here]
Let’s share some of my motherhood snippets.
1. Lots of sleeping
Sweet, sweet newborn baby cuddles, all day long. Norah was my tiny 5lb. 10oz. baby orangutan (see above pic for comparison). I remember thinking how I never thought it possible to love such a tiny little thing with so much intensity. We moms have a capacity to love so extraordinarily! Norah may or may not have been a pretty typical newborn (I mean really, you have to take all the newborn facts with a grain of salt). But man, the sleeping part, Norah had down! Girl loved her naps. I would just love to watch her sleep (and make sure she took another breath) *paranoia*. Babies are just so darn sweet when they sleep! The way they move their hands and their little newborn grunts make me want to squeee! Norah slept through the night very early on, and napped many times a day, and now? We’ll get there in a bit. But then? We loved us a nice 3-4 oz. bottle followed by a luxurious nap.
2. I have no clue what I’m doing!
Though the newborn stage was sweet, and I cherish my sweet orangutan memories, I was a big hot mess most days. I think the newborn stage has probably been my least favorite of the baby stages thus far. And I don’t mean this in the way that it sounds..I was so terrified at the thought of doing anything wrong that I was stressed most of the time.
Even before she was born, I was so scared thinking “I have no clue how to be a mom. What if I am a bonafide bad mom?” And when she came, she was so tiny and fragile! I felt like a failure when breastfeeding didn’t ‘work’ (for either of us), I worried she didn’t gain enough weight at her monthly checkpoints, I was paranoid when she slept, I tried to follow the newborn rule book to the ‘t’. Remember when I mentioned taking those rules with a grain of salt? Well. I was the opposite for a long time. I thought that when Norah wouldn’t do what the books said she should, that I was not doing something I should be, and I was failing at the mom thing. *classic first time mom syndrome* It’s quite comical to me now, but then, it was so not!
3. Milk drunk for days
The days of six bottles a day are long gone, folks (and also the days of spending $150 a month in baby formula..hallelujah chorus). I always thought it was so strange that Norah, and every baby, was just so satisfied with a big, warm bottle of milk. All day, e’rday. I am not a milk fan myself, so this particularly grossed me out. And after about two months of painful, dreaded, and unsuccessful breastfeeding, I opted for baby formula. Baby formula is odd (though a life saver), and it has a funk to the smell. And a formula smelling baby burp is just so adorably disgusting. I’ll never forget the short, day, of trying out Nutramigen–a formula for babies with cow based milk allergies. Thank the good Lord she did not need it because that stuff smells like fish dipped in Dorito batter, and based off Norah’s reaction to the bottles, it tasted like it too. We soon after settled on Gerber good start and loved it hard for a whole year.
Those were the days. Many different brands and trial runs of formulas (because they make approximately 1 billion types). Alas, a day I will not long miss, EXCEPT for the cute, adorable, milk drunk expressions we saw on an almost daily basis. Full tummy, happy heart, happier baby.
4. Sweet innocence
I thought it was a good time to add another sweet, sugary baby picture. Givin’ me all the feels. Sigh.
Babies have a precious innocence to them. Everything is so beautiful and so new to them. The first time they discover their hands, the first time they roll over, the first time they discover their own voice (that may be when things start to change)..all of these milestones they hit are so precious and shows such a pure innocence about their nature. When they poop, it doesn’t smell, even if it does. Why? Because it’s coming from your sweet bitty baby’s bottom and it’s too cute to be gross. When they spit up on you? Adorable. They didn’t mean to spit that entire bottle on your shirt, they couldn’t help it. Baby toots are hilarious, not repulsive. ‘Oops,’ you tell them, ‘someone’s a little gassy today’. Everything they do is so precious. I mean it, too. I was just like this; Norah could not have been any cuter!
It is bitter sweet as they leave this stage of innocence as they grow and develop. It’s so fun to see them learn new things and develop their personalities, and sad at the same time to leave their newborn snuggly stage. Always precious, not always so innocent.
5. Let’s just hang out
And just like all the other newborn stages are over, so the stage of immobility has also come to an end.
Babies are so easy to entertain when they are still young. Stick them in the baby swing for a while, then tummy time on the floor, then perhaps the baby bouncer, then the cute playmat (with a lot of milk breaks and naps in between). The land of many baby stations is what we referred our home to for the first several months. Lots of rotating to keep them entertained? Sure. But still, much easier to keep an eye on them, and to always assure that they are in the same spot you saw them, oh, 20 seconds ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I still felt tired and busy. They do consume a lot of your day no matter what age! But as soon as Norah started crawling, we knew we seriously had no idea how busy and exhausting life with a baby really was. Though we’ve always been the type to like having an agenda of some sort, Norah really just rolled with it and sort of just “hung out” with us wherever we were. No opinions or defiance, just a ‘sure mom, I’ll be good in my carseat while we drive.’ Oh, the days.
1. But first, coffee.
I’ve found that the older Norah has gotten, strangely enough, the more tired I am on a pretty normal day-to-day basis!
Coffee in the mornings has become a morning ritual for us, and let’s be honest, sometimes in the evenings. There is just something about a baby with a new spurt of energy and activeness that takes tired to a whole new level. I think it must accompany the constant redirecting, constant feeding (ms. cookie monster), constant going, going, going. I truly love this stage of life with her, but girl is cray cray. Sometimes I would like to say, “okay, you’re fighting your nap today? I’ll just crawl in your bed and take one in your place.” So. Much. Energy.
Sorry. I was just reminiscing on the days where naps for me were a reality. Time for another cup of coffee.
2. I got this…never mind, no clue what I’m doing
Now don’t get me wrong, I have become a much more confident mom and woman over the course of a year. But let’s get real. By the time you get used to a baby stage, they change it up on you! Feelin’ good about your baby’s sleep schedule? Well unfortunately, they just hit their 4 month sleep regression. Got her feedings down? Bam. She just decided she would rather have more bottles later in the day instead of earlier. Think your baby’s tummy hurts because she’s been super fussy, so you try and figure out how to fix it, or if you are feeding her something that is causing it, and a week later she’s got two teeth popping through. *lightbulb*
One thing I have been able to do over the course of this year, is relax and be totally confident in my cluelessness. Every stage has presented its challenges, and always rewards that far outweigh them. I’ll never know what’s next for us, because I’ve never been through it! Maybe by baby #2, I’ll have some of these things down, but even still, each baby is different and picky in his or her own ways. It’s a constant learning thing for us. My name is Tera and I am clueless!
3. Eat all the things
We have moved out of the milk drunk phase, and moved into the clearing our pantry out phase in full swing.
It amazes me how much this child can put away at meal time, not to mention the constant snacking throughout the day (despite her most recent take to pickiness). It’s a great sign of growth, so I am grateful. But Norah is a disposal when it comes to food. So much so, that she’s even taken a liking to her favorite puppy’s food (don’t worry, we’re working on it). The girl is ravenous and will sometimes eat a majority of what is on my plate, even after having her own!
I understand now why the kitchen is just such a key space in your home. It’s because that is where your children corral all day long! I am constantly preparing snacks and meals for my daughter who is always wanting food for on the go. So cute. So ravenous.
4. GUILTY as charged
Remember that sweet innocence we discussed and reminisced? Those days are long gone. There comes a time when babies go from their sweet stage, and transform into these little heathens who are ALWAYS into something!
Tell me this is not just me. I love my daughter more than the world, but she is such a…well, we’ll call her an adventurous spirit. ‘I wonder what would happen if I turned this knob’; ‘I wonder what would happen if I put all my belongings in the trash’; ‘I wonder if my book would look good in the toilet’; ‘I wonder if I should wash my hands in the dog’s water bowl, and then proceed to turn it over onto the carpet…yeah, I probably should.’ These are all thoughts that I’m assuming have to go through my daughter’s brain on a daily basis. She knows that these things are not allowed, yet I still find myself redirecting her from these very things. A lot. The biting, pinching, hissy-fit throwing, stanky poop diapers…no longer as innocent.
Norah tests her boundaries with me. “Hot” she says, as she points to the fireplace. “Yes, very hot, do not touch it,” I reply. Slowly a tiny, guilt ridden finger gets closer and closer to said fireplace. I tell her no 100 more times, and the finger is ever slowly but surely moving closer and closer. Did I mention she’s staring at me with her “adventurous” eyes the whole time? Yeah. First they’re sweet, then they’re sour.
5. Let us explore the world
This is the most fun part of Norah’s stage of life, in all seriousness. She is so intrigued by life, and loves exploring! She loves animals, other babies, and she loves being outside. It’s truly a blessing to watch her bloom and beam with so much joy when she gets to have fun exploring.
Now, the house is constantly a mess from her indoor explorations, and I usually have 3-4 times a day where I am cleaning up the same piles of toys and messes. Exploring every single toy in our home, exploring on our book shelf and dvd collection, exploring her closet, exploring her bathtub…we do a lot of indoor exploring. I’m all about that exploring! I’m already tired; why not?! She has become quite the explorer throughout her first year. Very curious, and very experimental.
I love this about Norah. It’s part of what makes up her beautiful being. It keeps us on our toes, for sure, but it keeps life interesting, entertaining and fun!
Norah’s first year has been the hardest and most rewarding year of my life. She has learned so much, but she has also taught me so many things! The greatest and hardest job on earth that one can have, I believe, is being a parent. It is also the most rewarding and fun! You learn to toss the rules aside (using them more as a guideline), and learn by experience. You learn patience on a whole new level. You learn how to be a teacher, and you learn discipline. You learn to change poopy diapers really fast and effectively. And you learn how to love well. #fellowmomsunite
Happy Earth Day, live healthy, love hard.