Thursday, July 11, 2013

On Being A Mom

The moment Aria was born and laid on my chest, there was a flood of emotions. Relief that I didn't have to push any more. Confusion that I didn't have to push any more. Disbelief that there was actually a tiny purple screaming baby girl on me. Shock that my inside baby just became an outside baby. Scared because she was early and would soon be taken to the NICU. Exhaustion because giving birth is draining and painful. And, most importantly, love because I finally got to meet my tiny baby girl. Labor, pushing, contractions, crowning and all of that have became faded memories now, but I vividly remember her being placed on my chest and looking down at her with all of these emotions. It really is the most incredible experience when you first lay eyes on your baby...and surreal.
And, then you never sleep again, or at least it feels that way. Taking care of a newborn is baffling - I can't think of a more tiring yet simple task. You feed, change, hold, and protect from the elements. There isn't that much to it. And yet it feels like you are trying to diffuse a bomb on a roller coaster with two fingers and you are also colour blind. Looking back on those first few months it is hard to believe how stressed I was. Partly it was hard because of all the very choppy irregular sleep. Newborns may sleep all the time, but not continuously. But, I think a good portion of exhaustion came from the completely new experience and worry that is part of being a first time mother. There is so much to worry about, and it is hard to just chill out. Part of me wishes I could go back and redo the first few months and enjoy those baby cuddles as much as possible (Aria is so not a snuggler anymore), but at the same time I really like my sleep. Maybe if there is a #2 I'll find my momma zen...
And, then they start being awake more, and you are like um now what? The feeding, changing, holding, and element protecting part is down pat, but how do you entertain and provide enriching activities for a baby? Aria is not one to sit still, and it is not like you can do a whole lot with toys right away. We did a lot of walking during the time between the sleeping most of the day and the discovery of hands stages. She wasn't the biggest fan of being horizontal or still, but when she was in extra pleasant moods we would lay on the couch or sit in the Bumbo and I would make noises at her or sing or identify body parts or just talk to her. She would also lay on her activity mat and look up at the toys for a few minutes too. But, that was about it. Anything else we did involved her being held. I found this stage or age or whatever to be especially tiring, even though by 10 weeks Turtle started sleeping through the night. By bedtime I was ready to crash, my back protesting as well as my feet.
And, then all of a sudden they get stronger and physical learning kicks into high gear. In my opinion this is when the "she is more fun everyday" stage starts. It is amazing to watch your baby's curiosity. And, it is mind blowing to watch them learn. One day they aren't interested in grabbing, and then something sparks their desire to do so and you watch them practice over and over until soon they can do it. I don't know if this stage ever ends, but I suppose it will switch from physical learning to a bigger emphasis on mental learning at some point. Aria is in the middle of physical milestones. Strengthening her neck to grabbing things to sitting up. She is now working on whatever you call rocking either on all flours or tripod style, strengthening her legs, and pulling herself up to sitting and standing. And, there is the babbling and mimicry under the mental learning tab too. There is just so much going on, it is constantly fun to interact with her and play with her and watch her grow.
I know you hear I wish they would stay small forever because it goes by so quickly, but I find her growing up to be the most exciting thing. I get downright giddy when she accomplishes something. The first time she sat up and I was practically jumping for joy, actually I probably literally was. I am itching for her to start crawling, because I know she is going to love it. She is going to be such a little mover and shaker, and will be getting into everything - I am working on our baby proofing right now as a matter of fact. I love to hear her babble and watch as her personality blossoms. Being a mom is such a fun job. Right now. I'm sure somebody could rub this in my face during a toddler tantrum or rebellious teenage phase. But, that is the future and I am enjoying the present oh so much.
So, on being a is the hardest and best time of your life. The love that you have for your child is like none other. It allows you to function on 4.5 hours of sleep broken into three parts. It makes you laugh when you get projectile pooed on. It tricks you into thinking getting punched in the face is adorable. It humbles you and makes you want to be a better person.

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