Olivia is 11 months old today. Holy shit.
With each month that ticks by I force myself to do another one of the dreaded monthly sticker photo shoots because I did it so eagerly for her brother and I don’t want to create a second child complex. Then I have the cursory “oh wow. Time is FLYING” reflection and move on because there is a lot of crap to be done and someone is always yelling or screaming or crying or jumping on me. Or all of it at once. Besides, her first birthday seemed very far away. I had plenty of time.
But I can’t live in denial any longer. My baby girl is turning one next month. After her bath I cover her soft, perfectly round belly in as many kisses as she’ll allow before wriggling away. I take an awkwardly long sniff of her head before putting her in the crib at night and hold her a little longer, taking in her delicious baby scent. I jump from completely fine to lip-quivering-teary every time I see another social media post of someone and their newborn baby. And whereas before I was selling the baby things Olivia had grown out of without pause, there was a sharp twinge of nostalgia and sadness when I sold the infant carseat. It was only a carseat – why was I dissolving into a glass case of emotion? Then I realized: We are never bringing home another tiny, squishy baby in that carseat again. Never would we drive home with a little human that we created and wonder, in the best way, what the hell we got ourselves into. No. It now belonged to someone else that was anticipating the arrival of their little one.
I was breathless when AJR turned one. I was in shock at how quickly the year went. There were tears of course, but I knew that there would be another kid someday so it made things more bearable. With Olivia, it’s not just the fact that she is turning 1, which is huge in its own right, it’s that she is the last baby we’ll have and I can’t comfort myself with the fact that we will get to do all of this again.
Two and through – our family is complete! And I whole-heartedly believe that. But…there’s still this lingering sadness that comes creeping in when I least expect it because this insane, sleep-deprived, but oh so happy ride we’ve been on is coming to an end and will become a foggy memory that blurs the edges of how difficult it really was, allowing us to only remember those moments that made us happy.
Admittedly, I don’t love love the baby stage. It’s a lot of work with very little reward in the early days and if we’re being honest, it can be a little boring. Babies don’t do anything. Except make demands that you have to somehow decipher because they don’t talk and it could be anything from hunger to the thermostat dropped 1 degree and they are not having it. Not to mention, life is just a touch easier when you don’t have to carry them everywhere, cut up their food into microscopic pieces, and generally keep them from killing themselves as a baby’s natural curiosity always draws them into harm’s way. That being said, I can’t help but lament the loss of experiencing the quintessential newborn moments that those well-meaning, but completely annoying and well-rested people told me to treasure because they’ll be over before I know it. So here I am, knowing full well that I didn’t soak up every baby-riffic moment as I was brought to the brink physically and emotionally so many times that I was simply trying to survive. While I am so looking forward to the next year, the shadow of Olivia’s 1st birthday has brought on an acute case of the “no mores”.
No more experiencing the highest of highs in reading an at-home pregnancy test confirming that what you hoped and prayed for has happened.
No more hearing the sound of that heart beating on the doppler for the first time and seeing a little alien tadpole wriggling inside of you on the ultrasound.
No more maternity pants with their cozy and forgiving fabric panel that makes a muffin top something you eat rather than something you lament having.
No more kicks and flutters from the baby growing rapidly within your burgeoning belly, reassuring you that they are in there and man, did they really enjoy that chocolate milkshake you just ate.
No more anticipation of the scary/exciting/insane changes that are about to come and how your life, and you as a person, will never be the same.
No more body breaking labor followed by the immediately euphoria of a slippery, squalling baby being placed on your chest while your husband looks on in joy and awe at what you’ve done and you’re both breathless over the beautiful baby you’ve made together.
No more flood of immediate love and adoration for someone you’ve only just met so overwhelming that it almost literally makes you feel like your heart is going to explode.
No more scrunchy, curled baby body that fits perfectly on your chest for a post-feeding nap.
No more sweet scent of a soft baby head.
No more first smiles, coos, laughs, rolls, foods, steps, and words.
No more baby growing before your very eyes and turning into a tiny person that loves you beyond belief and measure despite your bad days and flaws. Because you are mommy and that is everything.
These are the things I think about when all is quiet, the kids are asleep, and I’m scrolling through my iPhone (per usual) at the pictures of babies I caught being their absolute best and most adorable. These are the things my heart will ache for and I’ll miss so much that I feel it’ll always hurt, just a little. But then there is the flip side:
No more uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms and giving up alcohol for 9 months. CHEERS!
No more having to give birth (which suuuuuucks), have a complete stranger help you go to the bathroom, and wearing mesh underwear while you squirt yourself with one of these bad boys because wiping is sheer insanity postpartum.
No more having to support a tiny head that feels like it could snap off it’s shoulders if your hand isn’t RIGHTTHERE.
No more nighttime feedings and constant waking throughout the night FOR NO APPARENT REASON.
No more feeling like a dairy cow that is always open for business.
No more torturing your baby with tummy time because if you don’t do at least 5 minutes per day your baby will never be able to lift their head and become a functioning member of society.
No more breaking into a cold sweat attempting to trim itty bitty baby nails.
No more doing every.single.little.thing.for them always.
Even though I try to comfort myself with all of the “bad” that I’ll never have to go through again, there’s a reason that people do this again and again and it’s because babies redeem themselves through all of those happy moments. But, based on how much I’ve loved each subsequent stage of AJR’s life more and more, I cannot wait to begin the next chapter of Olivia’s life because it really does get better. That is my comfort. Not only is life going to be much easier for me (in some ways…) but it’s going to be an incredible – and simultaneously exasperating experience – watching her little personality continue to blossom. I am ready to delight in watching her toddle around creating even more mischief than she does on all fours. To see her and AJR’s relationship deepen for better or worse (mostly worse if she’s messing with his Hot Wheels). And of course, hear her tiny voice emerge and utter the three word phrase that makes any parent melt no matter what their kid has done: I love you.
It may be bye bye baby, but it’s hello to a brand new set of adventures and toddler firsts with my best girl and her big brother.