The first year did fly by. Those wistful strangers looking at my sweet baby sleeping on me while I bought milk and eggs, they were right. It flies by. Now I say it to new parents, “It goes by so fast!” And I know they already know that.
CHANGE 1: SLEEP
Our sleep situation, as anyone who has ever hazarded a phone call to me in the last 12 months knows, has been abysmal. I am ready to report, however, that change has taken place and I am now NOT the very most sleep deprived mom on the planet. I get an average of 4 uninterrupted hours a night plus an average of 1 other hour toward morning. Of course, sometimes I get 3 interrupted hours and nothing else, but progress is progress. And of course, 2 steps forward means 1 step back for a baby. Our 1 step back is this: he wants to be “UP UP UP” “ding dong ding dong ding dong” “Baaaa Baaaa!” for the day at 3, at 4, and finally resolutely at 5. Which means I am up to nurse him at 3, 4, and (God love Faris for his selflessness) for about 20 minutes at 5ish while Faris prepares to be on early baby duty 6 days a week. Does this sound good to you? It sounded like heaven to me about 4 months ago when I got NO SLEEP until I nearly was losing my mind…but now I don’t think I can do with this much longer either. 4 hours=better. 4=not enough though.
(My friend brought me hot chocolate. THANK GOD FOR FRIENDS.)
CHANGE 2: POSSESSIVENESS
Another friend has a baby we see frequently and who is slightly older than S. Recently we noticed a little more friction between our boys when they are playing with toys together. As in baby 1 has a desirable toy truck and baby 2 takes it leaving baby 1 to pout and sometimes cry. She asked me yesterday what we should do as this situation becomes more frequent and our babies become less distractable with other toys (ie: more crying and possessiveness that is surely on the way). She suggested we take the toy in question away. Reflexively I responded that I didn’t want to do that…but of course she’s right. Of course that is what we’ll do because at 1 year, at 2 years, and even 3 years sharing is still a mystical concept existing only in the minds of parents. It’s unfair to expect little ones to get that concept before they are ready. And it isn’t that I thought we would teach sharing. I think I just have this rosy view that includes letting children feel their emotions and work things out without me taking a toy away. Yes, I hear how silly that sounds. Of course babies need guidance. Of course that guidance comes from us. I have an automatic response to what I perceive as me being controlling and I overcompensate sometimes.
CHANGE 3: MY PAST MATTERS
Am I the only mom who works out her private, personal, deeply ingrained demons from her own childhood by trying to NEVER duplicate those insecurities onto her baby’s life? I am driven almost maniacally to try to never EVER doubt Sufyan, to be the lioness in his corner. Which is to say nothing of never ever ever feeling anger around him or, God forbid, sadness. Again and again I come back to the wisdom that my mother shared with me about such things: You are teaching Sufyan to be human. And to be human includes these emotions. You don’t want to teach him that having these emotions isn’t ok.
Of course that’s right. I see such a range of emotions in him, in babies in general. Anger, frustration, sadness, happiness, silliness, irritation, boredom, etc etc etc…and I welcome them all from him. So why not welcome them from myself?
CHANGE 4: WALKING LIKE A PRO
In other news, S is walking so well that people are often surprised at the park when I tell them how old he is. “WOW!” said one mom to the other when I told them. They then proceeded to have a little discussion about why my son walked so early and what they decided was that I never really held him very much and that encouraged his walking. Case closed. HA! I didn’t bother to correct them and tell them I carried Sufyan so much and so often that we consider the stroller a rare treat. Not that strollers are bad (ours is getting more use lately), but those moms don’t know what they are talking about. It was the repetition of a common baby myth: carrying a baby delays their walking skills. No, uh uh, that gets a “nope”: Sufyan is a case in point.