The other day, I sat in my daughter's bedroom, packing up clothes that no longer fit her. I added her zero to three month clothing to the newborn stash I had already put away and continued with my day. Where there should have been a dramatic pause, there was nothing but hurried steps to tackle my next chore. No tears, no nostalgic feeling, no overwhelming desire for her to stay this small forever. I spoke with a few friends who had recently done the same thing, and their responses all echoed something similar to, "Aren't you sad she's growing up?" I sat and thought to myself... should I be sad? Is there something wrong with me? I'm a pretty sentimental person, so I was perplexed not to have had the same reaction. I pondered why this "milestone" didn't affect me as it did others.
And I came up with this.
Between you, me and the lamppost, I don't love the baby stage.
There. I said it. An honest confession.
Go ahead and read that again that, because I didn't say I don't love my baby, I said I don't love the baby stage. I love that little face more than I ever thought humanly possible. I live for her smiles. I'd go to the ends of the earth to make her happy. I'm pretty sure (albeit biased) that she is the cutest baby in the world and her giggles absolutely make me melt.
But it's hard to have an infant, and it seems as though nobody is willing to admit that. Is it so taboo to admit that our lives aren't perfect? That we are struggling? That, God forbid, our kids are challenging, to say the least? I recently had coffee with a newly-pregnant friend and my sister said to me after, "You didn't scare her, did you?" It's as if letting someone know how hard those first few months really are is spilling the beans on a secret that nobody is supposed to discuss. I sure wish someone had given me a heads up. Not that it would've changed my mind or prepared me, but so that when I was feeling overwhelmed and helpless, I would have known that many before me and many after me shared the same experience.
When I was pregnant, I would joke that, "If God knew what he was doing, I'd give birth to a 9-year-old." I guess I never realized how true those words would be. The reality of it was that I knew I'd be giving birth to a tiny, helpless, completely dependent, little, almost person. And that was scary.
However, I'd become so accustomed to hearing my friends say, "I can't believe X amount of months has passed by already! It's going too fast!" I had finally convinced myself that I would feel the same way. Infancy was going to rush by in a blur and before I knew it, I'd blink and she'd be in high school.
Not over here. Not even close to being the case.
Five. Months. Has. Felt. Like. Five. Months.
Does this make me a bad mom? Are my parenting rights going to be revoked? Are you judging me for not wishing my sweet baby would stay this little forever?
Well, judge away, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. In fact, there was one woman who dared to speak the truth. A former coworker who, when I brought my baby to meet my colleagues, said to me, "It's tough, isn't it? The beginning stinks." She was the only one, out of a sea of mothers, who was bold enough to go there. Hearing her words made me feel as though a weight was lifted. I knew I couldn't be the only one out there that wasn't devastated her baby was "growing up too fast."
I'm not asking for a teenager (definitely not ready for that), but it would be nice if she could interact with me a little more, could tell me her thoughts and feelings and -- dare I say it -- be potty-trained.
Don't get me wrong; I am loving how much she is changing and growing week to week. She is so close to becoming a real person and we can already see hints of her little personality developing. She's going to be a firecracker and I know one day I'll look back and resent the fact that I ever felt like this, but in the meantime, I can still look forward to her growing up a bit.
In the meantime, I can take solace in the fact that I know I'm not alone in how I feel.
And in the meantime, I can continue to live for those little, toothless smiles and melt at the sound of that sweet giggle.