I’ve been thinking a lot during these last few weeks. My thoughts swing from “GET THE DAMN BABY OUT! NOW! OUT OUT OUT!” to “This is the last time my daughter will be an only child.. the last time she’ll get every ounce of my attention; aside from the blog and the laundry and that shiny thing over there, that is.” Lately I’ve been romanticizing every aspect of her tiny little person because look! We made a tiny little person! Who turned out to be pretty damn incredible! Don’t we rock?
We somehow survived those first few months of reflux, screaming, not sleeping. We made it through the first winter with our newborn, we figured out how to feed her, to swaddle her, to get her to sleep. I remember sitting with her in various locations feeding her and telling her I loved her, even though the words landed on an unresponsive baby who couldn’t comprehend what I said any more than I could. I remember those first few months of struggle, telling myself this is what I wanted, I wanted to be a mom, I loved my daughter, I really did. I just wasn’t so convinced at first. I remember the guilt I felt over admitting those feelings and how relieved I was when so many others confessed the same thing.
In thinking back, I’m sad for my first-time-mom self. I’m sad that nobody said it’s OK to cry on the bathroom floor and it’s OK to become so insanely over-protective and it’s OK to bottle feed because your boobs can’t squirt more than three drops of milk. Maybe people were telling me it was OK, I don’t remember, I just remember the loudest voice of all was my own guilt, my own fear, my own self-loathing.
That voice got quieter and my mom voice got a lot louder.
We learned we could still do the same things we loved. We found out it’s so much more fun to go to a park with your child, to watch her swing with such a joy, you think you’re flying. We celebrated her first birthday in awe and relief; somehow we managed to become parents that first year. We took our collective gene-pool and created a person we loved to show off, to let see our places, we let in to our hearts.
We created standards for her life. We collectively pulled together as a team, the parental unit, and came up with a secure home with lots of love and respect but also high expectations. We waited a whole year before letting her try her first beer. We made sure it was classy.
Even during the toddler years, the struggles of being two, the independence that takes a two minute task and turns it in to a three hour event (called “Getting Dressed”), we still somehow found a way to mesh. The three of us make a pretty fine team. She makes us laugh with her expressions. She comes up with stories on her own. She is still incapable of lying and tells on herself almost daily. “LB? What are you doing?” “I’m pooping on the carpet! That’s a NONO!” I respect her honesty.
LB, during the past two and a half years we’ve come a long way together. We fell in love, we conquered the big issues like eating and sleeping. We taught you how to talk and walk and you taught us how to be parents with high standards and a classy kid. You’re someone we can take to your dad’s work and be proud of how well you handle your tiny two-year-old self. We’re proud of how often you choose to listen to us even when we know you’d rather not. We are amazed at how much you can do on your own now and how helpful you are to me during the day. I’m so proud of how well you’ve accepted your new role and how you already set aside one of your favorite stuffed toys for your brother. You already hand me your Yellow Buddy and tell me it’s for Baby O. Your kindness is inspiring. It’s because of all this that I know you’ll be the best big sister ever. It’s because of all this that I know you’ll always be someone we can respect and rely on. It’s because of all of this that I know you’re going to handle doing all of this over again so well. I hope I handle it even better than last time but honestly? It didn’t turn out half bad. And I have you to thank for that.
I love you.
Wow. You just described my experience perfectly.
I sat up one night sobbing my way through a roll of toilet paper in those early days with kiddo No. 1.
My maternity leave with the second was so much better.
Sometimes I feel guilty about that though—that I was so much more relaxed with baby No. 2. Like maybe my first was short-changed because her mother was too busy freaking out or drifting through the house in a nursing gown, weeping.
By Arkie Mama on 2007 05 17
So sweet. Isn’t time a great gift in these matters? I had many of the same issues immediately after having my first child. For me, it did get easier with each child. By baby #4 I almost felt normal and human within the first week.
LB is beautiful. You have clearly done somethig right, if she is already reserving a special lovey for the new baby. Can’t wait to see him when he comes and you are back to blogging.
By nicole on 2007 05 17
I give that little crying on the bathroom floor advice out at every baby shower I go to. It’s not only OK. It’s a necessity when you’re a mom. I still do it now and my youngest is five [but actually I find myself on the bathroom floor more now because of the teenager years..oh they are so fun].
LB is such a cutie patootie!
By Christine on 2007 05 17
So very sweet! I’m excited to see how things go with this next one. My second was much easier than my first, and seemed to actually balance me out hormonally-and I was much happier. I hope the same for you.
By sarahgrace on 2007 05 17
Awwww. I’m glad I’m not pregnant otherwise I’d be all weepy.
On a sidenote, I’m glad we’re not the only ones who’ve given their toddler (tastes) of beer.
By Lanna on 2007 05 18
and my fat preggo tears begin to flow. thanks for making it such a sappy morning.
By Domestic Diva on 2007 05 18
Well, if you’re missing your new mom self at any point after August, you’re welcome to live it vicariously through me. I have no doubt whatsoever that crying on the bathroom floor (not to mention the kitchen counter, the living room rug and the back seat of my own car) will probably be a daily practice for a while.
While I’m terrified about all the things that will lead me to those crying jags, your post also helped me focus a bit on the brighter aspects of this terrifying journey we have begun.
By N. Smay on 2007 05 18
By Mrs. M on 2007 05 18
Oh Les, I just love you! You always say things in such a beautiful way. I’m sure it’s difficult right now because you REMEMBER how hard it was with LB, and you’re not sure it won’t be the same all over again. I really think that things WILL be different this time because you aren’t that lost, first time mom that you were back then. And you have already been tested and made it through in GRAND fashion! I’m excited for you and your little family… adding on a new member who is so wanted and already so loved. You’ll be fine. And LB will always have a sibling to torture… I mean RELY ON.
And I love you because you have a picture of LB trying beer! We have almost the identical picture of B drinking from daddy’s beer, and I always worry that if people see it, they’ll call child protective services on me! But YOU, oh brave, silly, wonderful blog goddess, YOU have allayed my fears. I mean, at least I know you’ll be in the prison visiting room with me when our little ones come to see us in “bad mommy jail.”
Anyway, you’re in the home stretch and I’m so glad we get to share this all with you. Thanks!!! (and hang in there!)
By Katie Kat on 2007 05 18
P.S. I swear to God LB is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen… from day ONE she was a little pixie! I could just eat her with a spoon!!!!
By Katie Kat on 2007 05 18
Wahhhh….sniff, sniff. That is beautiful. Makes me want to have another baby (in two years).
It’s nuts how these babies evolve so quickly. Your family is beautiful.
By Skyzi on 2007 05 18
Awww, beautiful girl. The tears are STINGING the back of my eyeballs right now. Stinging. Your relationship with her won’t change with Baby’s arrival, don’t worry. It’ll just get better. I worry/think about this a lot (and i’m not even pg).
Loved seeing pictures of little cuite patootie!
By el-e-e on 2007 05 18
By mdvelazquez on 2007 05 18
another lovely tribute.
By texasbelle on 2007 05 18
This is such a wonderful posts! A little funny, a little love, a lot of great!
By heather on 2007 05 18
How completely wonderful. You’re lucky to have each other.
By Sonia on 2007 05 19
Oh shoot ~ now why did you have to go and make me cry??
She’s lovely, Mrs. Flinger! Simply lovely!
By Melissa R. Garrett on 2007 05 19
I love it. That photo of you at your laptop with tiny LB in your lap is priceless.
Awww mama you are going to do just fine. Just fine.
By Jamie on 2007 05 19
Love it! Another one to take out and read over and over.
By Marjorie on 2007 05 19
So sweet! I agree, things will be different this time. Becoming a first time mom changes just about EVERYTHING! It’s a huge adjustment. Now your a pro and you have the tools to handle ANYTHING that comes your way! LB is going to be the best big sister. She is going to be your little sidekick and mommy’s helper. You’ll never have to get up to grab another diaper again! So don’t worry about not giving her the attention she needs. You will love her even more (if thats humanly possible, she’s so flippin’ cute)when you see how she is with her little brother. Much love to you Leslie! I just cant wait to see that little boy of yours :o) XOXO
By kelli on 2007 05 20