Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Watching our kids grappling with a newborn takes me back 27 years...

Suddenly it’s all so vivid. We were that couple proceeding so cautiously home from the hospital with the world’s most precious cargo in his rear-facing car seat.

Once home in our ghetto apartment, with all the help gone, we looked at each other thinking “when are this baby’s parents going to come pick him up?”— unable to quite wrap our brains around the idea that WE were the parents now. 

I remember the first time he awoke in the night, turning on all the lights and practically throwing a party we were so excited to get up and "do the baby thing" — change his diaper and feed him and snuggle him. I also remember how quickly the party died down as he woke several more times that night and the sleep deprivation set in!  

There we were, certain we had the most angelic baby ever born because he slept so sweetly most of the day, only to be jerked awake from our fantasy every 45 minutes all night long because he was experiencing day/night reversal. 

I was the one curling my toes in pain, wondering why no one ever told me that breastfeeding hurt so horribly at first! I remember setting a timer and gritting my teeth while he nursed for the requisite seven minutes per side, until I somehow toughened up, and breastfeeding became one of the sweetest bonding experiences imaginable.

The two of us gave him his first bath, shocked at how slippery a naked baby is as we held onto him for dear life over the bathroom sink, our laughter barely drowning out the ensuing panic.

I remember realizing for the first time, “My parents did all this for me when I was a baby, and I had no idea.”  And then, “Wow! This must be how much my parents loved me!”

Those early days with a newborn were some of the hardest, craziest times and some of the sweetest, most blissful times, all rolled into one. 

And now it’s their turn. They are loving and feeding and diapering and checking for bilirubin and all the things. They are fighting exhaustion, and overcome with love. Parenting is one of the most amazing, humbling, overwhelming, incredible journeys — and they've only just begun.

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