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Baby stages

Baby stages

A friend of mine had her third baby this week, her second little boy. It was a quick and easy delivery, and as I looked at all the pictures of my proud and tired friend with her tiny new baby and his overjoyed siblings, one thought came to mind: Thank God we don’t have a brand-new...

A friend of mine had her third baby this week, her second little boy. It was a quick and easy delivery, and as I looked at all the pictures of my proud and tired friend with her tiny new baby and his overjoyed siblings, one thought came to mind: Thank God we don’t have a brand-new baby tonight.
Boy, that seems a little harsh.
Let me clarify. It’s not that I’m not thrilled to bits for my friend or that I don’t love newborns. But having had four newborns myself at varying times, I have no illusions left. None. So I look at that squidgy little baby, and I’m so happy for her—and also mentally scrolling through memories of sleepless nights and sleepless days and engorgement and latching and umbilical cord stumps and delivery recovery and oof. No matter how smoothly it goes, those early days are tough.IMG_2083
Now, with an 8-month-old (!) and three older kiddos, the newborn stage is one I’m very glad is behind us. Yes, there’s that enchanting new baby with an intoxicating scent and petal-soft skin, but there’s also the ’round-the-clock nursing schedule, all those diapers and doctor’s visits, sponge baths, constant hand-washing, endless visitors, and complete and utter exhaustion on top of it all. For weeks! But that’s just it—every stage has its own highs and lows, even though they’re all amazing in their own right. It’s staggering to look back at photos of my own kiddos at just a few weeks old and compare those squinchy, helpless little babies with the people I look at today. They’re so big! So capable! Two of them can wipe their own bottoms!
At 8-months-old now, our baby can do so many things. She loves to jump in her jumper and roll around on the bed and play peekaboo. She shrieks with joy when her brothers and sister crowd around and play with her. She can sit up all by herself and keep herself busy for a while with car keys or chopsticks. She has a tooth, and she loves sharing food and dousing herself with water from her new sippy cup. So while it brings me up short sometimes to think about how quickly she’s growing up, I don’t wish that I had that time back. OK, maybe for a hot minute I feel a little misty, but it’s more about how fast it’s all happening than a wish for her to be younger. I’m too busy enjoying her as she is right now. Every day she’s learning and doing something new—you can practically see her mind whirring as she takes in everything around her. And there’s so much to come. Crawling, cruising, first steps, first words, more teeth, finger foods, her first pair of shoes, her first birthday—and that’s just in the next few months!
I’m looking forward to dropping off a meal for my friend and admiring her baby. And I’ll be so happy to come home afterward to my own family. Between school, activities, a busy little baby and the terrible threes, it’s nuts around here, for sure—but not newborn nuts.