When you are expecting a baby, and for at least a few months after the baby is born, every single parent you meet says to you something along these lines: “Oh, enjoy every minute! It goes so fast.”
For the first month of Zoe’s life–a haze of packing for a move to Who Knew Where, sleeping for no more than two hours at a time, struggling to get the hang of breast feeding, and worrying whether Zoe was eating enough, sleeping too much, or maybe still a little jaundiced around the eyes–I did not agree. That month was hard, and it was slow.
And, really, the advice to “enjoy every minute” is silly, too. I mean, I love my daughter more than I would have thought possible, but do I enjoy every minute? Do I enjoy the tantrums, the grocery store meltdowns, the dirty diapers, the Dora the Explorer? No. No, I do not.
But I do enjoy most of the minutes, and after that first tough month, it really has gone fast. My baby will be three in June. I am packing away her 2T clothes, having actual conversations with her, and being corrected when I sing a song or read a story incorrectly. (I know, this is only the beginning of my child pointing out that I am wrong.)
So more and more, I savor the moments where time seems to slow down. This happened last week, when Mike was doing some late night dissertation writing and I was home alone with Zoe and Netflix Instant. She had a restless night, and woke up begging for “one more book”.
Usually, this is Zoe code for “five more books, at least”, so I tried to resist. But a person can only listen to her child pitifully wail, “Please, one more book! Please!” for so many minutes. (Pro Tip: In my case, it’s about three.)
I went in, and Zoe immediately climbed onto my lap and selected Good Night, Gorilla, a book Mike always reads when he puts her to bed, but one I hadn’t read with her in ages. We settled into the short book, and I remembered all the words I used to add to the mostly wordless pages.
Then I rocked her and sang “Hush Little Baby”, a song she loves. A song I sang to her before she was born, imagining it might be all the more powerful if she had some misty womb memory of it. A song my father sang to me every single night when he put me to bed. A song that left me more than a little misty-eyed as I tucked my sleepy baby back into her big girl bed.
Where she slept soundly the rest of the night (if you don’t count the two or three times she woke up).