A friend of mine at work "needs a baby".
Actually she does really want a baby.
I tell her I have four and she can borrow a couple whenever she feels the urge to Mommy.
She just laughs.
Babies. Ahhhhh. Babies.
They are so wonderfully exquisite, aren't they? The way their fuzzy heads smell, the soft delicateness of their skin, the tiny baby noises, the perfectness of their itsy-bitsy toes and fingers...ahhhhh. Love it.
Thinking back, I know how I felt before I had my first one (I might add here that I didn't think I would actually have more than one--who knew--and, God bless 'em, I love 'em but I certainly do not want any more) I didn't think that I would ever get pregnant. It took almost a year before Jacob was conceived, which I later learned is not out of the ordinary for a first pregnancy ( my other three pregnancies took me by complete surprise and utter shock).
During that fretful year, all I noticed was people's babies, all the adorable baby items and clothes in every store I went into, the babies in restaurants, in strollers--you get my point. I was infatuated with becoming a mother and it overtook my life, which in all reality is probably why it took so long to get pregnant.
Finally, in July of 1997 we found ourselves merrily on our way to parenthood--buying baby booties and blankets and all the cute stuff first-time parents must have for their babies. Grandmas and Nanas were excited, Papas were getting used to the idea of becoming Papas, aunts and uncles were anxious.
Then it happened.
We actually had a baby and brought him home.
A whirlwind of emotions surrounded us then and all parents can relate I am sure. We weren't prepared for anything that happened. ALL the books were wrong and we had to find our own way. We grew up very quickly.
Well, I take back the 'We'.
I grew up and grabbed the reigns of a relationship that would become frighteningly rocky over the next few years and through the births of three more children. But that is a post for a different day.
Because right now I am writing about babies and what it is like to have your first one. All the feelings of wonder and awe along with the fears and worries that are present for a new Mommy and how those feeling evolve and relax with each subsequent baby so that now, with my fourth baby turning 2, I am such a different parent than I was when my first baby was turning 2.
With Serenity, I have certainly not fretted over the little things like pacifiers falling on the floor or buying the most expensive diapers, or worrying about why my baby refuses to eat her puree'd peas (my life is essentially a LUVs diaper commercial in case anyone was wondering) . I know the importance of a little extra cuddle time and don't freak out if naptime is a little bit later one afternoon. When Serenity was tiny, I held her. As much or as little as she demanded. Many new parents seem to take this to the extreme one way or another I have noticed--either holding the baby all the time or only when performing routines such as feeding or changing for fear of 'spoiling' the infant. I think with the first baby it is so easy to be swayed by the advice of other parents that it can be so hard to tune into your own baby. I don't think I learned to 'tune into' my baby until baby # 3.
As I approach the 10th anniversary of my induction into parenthood (my son would rather refer to this monumental occassion as his 10th birthday--selfish little bugger) I feel somewhat seasoned. I feel ready to offer advice to my friend, who needs a baby.
I want to tell her, I want to prepare her, but I know that a Mom is truly not prepared and can't be. It is a right-of-passage.
Babies are cute. They are cuddly. They are so much fun to dress up.
But they grow up, like puppies, and some days the cute factor will not soothe your irritation.
You will love the hugs that come from little arms wrapped around your neck.
You will crave hearing the little voice call "Mommy"
You will falter sometimes and do things that will hurt your child's feelings.
You won't always make the best decisions.
One day you will be sailing along through normalities, in and out of routines, and it will hit you.
You are a Mom.
You are someone's MOM.
And in that moment, that very moment, you will feel like you are walking on air.
Because that is the most important you will ever feel in your life.
Then you will step on a Lego and curse the blessed little rugrat.