I think if we could somehow manage without going insane, I’d have a whole mob of kids. (Cory would stop at 3, but I’m the writer here so he doesn’t get a vote.) Kids are just so much fun. They’re clever, loud, adorable, quirky and so lovable. They also raise your blood pressure and make you want to run far away but always - ALWAYS – make you want to come running back. Kids are like a powerful drug. The highs and lows are unmatched by anything I’ve ever experienced.
Since becoming a Mother, I have never felt so manic in my life – the range of my feelings of joy, sadness, love, hurt, excitement, worry, pride, warmth and pain is ever-changing.
At a playground over the summer, Ryan came running over to me crying that an older kid said he was “too little” to play with him. I could just picture his sweet little hopeful face when he inquired, “Can I play with you?” and then the tears gathering in his eyes when he was rebuffed. Such an innocent and common interaction between children, but I literally wanted to tie this kid around a flagpole. I had to stop myself from going over to this child (who was probably all of 5 years old) to make him understand just how awful he made Ryan feel. All rational behavior goes out the window, it’s unreal.
Elizabeth Stone so brilliantly captured what it feels like to have a child:
”Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
I dare you to give me a better quote than that about being a parent. You can’t. I would probably add that the aforementioned child has the power to take that heart and stomp it into little pieces until it resembles sand. Not as poetic, but I don’t look forward to what my poor, fragile heart will be going through for the rest of my life.
Now that we have a second child, Cory and I often discuss how things are different this time around on many levels. For one, I did not suffer from Postpartum Depression after Alexa’s birth, so the entire infant stage was viewed through a different lens.
Time feels markedly different, although I’m well aware that the concept of 24 hours in a day has not changed. In the beginning with Ryan, I could.not.wait. for each stage to progress.
When is he going to smile? Sleep through the night? Sit. Crawl. Walk. Talk. When will this get easier? When will I get some semblance of a life back? My body. My sleep…
Although I fully enjoyed watching Ryan change and develop, I had a hurry-up kind of attitude because without hindsight, I didn’t know just how fast each stage would move.
Every three months, something would change. Eventually, I couldn’t update the baby book fast enough with Ryan’s milestones, silly stories and memorable experiences. I would hear people tell me how I should enjoy each stage because it goes by so fast. I waved this off as an “old person” thing to say. It didn’t seem fast while I was going through it.
Now I know better.
Now I know why people go nuts when they see a baby. Because babyhood lasts for, oh, about two seconds. The first time, it hits you like a ton of bricks and it’s like you’re on autopilot without a plan. The second time, you want to hold back the hands of time but you’re poweless against it.
I love Alexa’s wide, drooly, toothless grin. I love her cheek against mine and how she tries to eat my face with her wet kisses. I love how she eats her own feet and doesn’t know that it’s supposed to be disgusting.
I love how she loses her balance and falls over on her side. I love how she bangs on her toy piano with abandon. I love how she looks like a prisoner holding onto her crib slats with clenched fists as I put my nose on hers and we laugh. I love how she smells – anytime. I love the little swish of her diaper as she crawls. I love her amazing smile when someone enters the room.
I love how Ryan squeezes and jumps all over her and she looks at him with only the utmost adoration. I love how she has a squeezable baby belly and thighs that I can kiss for hours on end.
I love her high-pitched squeal. I love how soft she is.
I love that she is a girl.
I want time to stand still.
I love that Ryan is no longer a baby. I love how ”Mommy” is his first word when he wakes up in the morning. I love how he tells long-winded stories that make no sense. I love how he looks at himself in the mirror and does a little jig. I love his half New York, half English accent.
I love how he’s always hungry. I love his amazing hugs and kisses. I love the clever way in which he looks at the world. I love learning from him.
I love how he does the flip-jacket trick to put on his coat and how he puts all five fingers in the large section of his mittens and leaves the thumb part empty. I love burying my face in his neck. I love tickling him.
I love how he tells me where he’s going to hide when we play hide-and-seek. I love that he has no inhibitions. I love how he tries to protect his sister from too-small toys.
I love how he talks to himself in bed and doesn’t fully understand that I can hear him on the monitor.
I love that he is a boy.
I want time to stand still.
Just for a little while…