Life Lessons: Living life with a baby

On Saturday, my baby girl turns 1.  As I explained last week, this leaves me feeling reflective and sentimental.  Last time I examined what I’ve learned about working from home with a baby.  I would be remiss if I didn’t share some of the many lessons I’ve learned about living life with a baby.

Life is not all about me. Seeing as how I’ve been around for a while, I thought I’d learned this lesson.  Having a baby girl in my life definitely brought this lesson to life.  For example, when I got a cold a couple of weeks ago, my first thought was how I was going to take care of Lexiana well and how I was going to keep my germs from spreading to her.   She is always my first thought.  I have a feeling that won’t ever change.

My baby girl getting ready to leave the hospital in October 2009.

My baby girl getting ready to leave the hospital in October 2009.

You can have fun doing anything. My baby girl is a happy one.  She’s taught me that even mundane tasks can be fun.  She laughs in anticipation when I take her sleeper off because she knows we’ll play with it.  She loves for me to drop it on her and pick it up again.  I never knew pajamas could be so much fun.  She loves when I fold towels because they flap a breeze her direction.  Again, I never knew folding laundry could be so much fun.  She makes me laugh and smile and just enjoy living.

Having a complete conversation with someone who only gibbers is possible. Seriously.  Lexiana is a great dinner companion.  Most nights we sit down to a family dinner together, but breakfast and lunch we are on our own since my husband is at work.  For someone like myself who is not overly chatty, I’ve been amazed at the complete conversations I can have with someone who is just now starting to babble some words.  Her smile keeps me talking, I guess.

Smiles come more easily. I know that I smile more these days than ever before.  I wasn’t unhappy before, but looking at her makes me smile.  Watching her antics, especially now that she’s learning and exploring, makes me smile and laugh.  We’ve found our groove, she and I, and I am at peace.  I am doing what I was made to do.  Why wouldn’t I smile?

Sometimes it’s OK to cry. Babies cry.  Mine does.  I will say she doesn’t cry very much these days and sometimes can now even go entire days without doing so, but she’s had her moments.  And I’ve had my moments.  The early days were the roughest.  I was tired; she was adjusting.  I was figuring out how to feed her through pumping and bottle feeding; she was figuring out how to make milk come out of the bottle.  It was hard.  I had moments at 3 a.m. where I just prayed that God would help her get the bottle nipple into her mouth correctly so she could get the milk she so desperately wanted.  I cried.  She cried.  And then she got it.  And we moved on.  Sometimes it’s OK to cry just as long as you move on.

My husband is the funniest guy on the planet. Since I was 14, he’s been making me laugh.  Now, he makes Lexiana laugh more than anyone else. Sometimes he can just say “hi” to her and she’ll giggle.  Nothing makes my heart happier than the two of them playing together and laughing together.

My husband is a great father. I can’t think of my baby girl without thinking of him.  I thought I knew the man completely after so many years together.  He is totally my other half, but seeing him as a father, I see him in a new light.  And somehow I love him even more.  He is gentle with her.  He loves her completely.  He takes good care of us.  He’s also made great strides to figure out how to be a good dad to a baby girl.  My favorite memory from this year has to be the first Sunday he got her dressed for church.  I was in the other room pumping before we left, but I could hear him talking to her.  He picked up her tights and said, “Well, we’ll figure out this women stuff together.”  Then he wrangled them onto her tiny, squirming legs.

Gross isn’t so gross any more. Once you become a mother, you lose a sense of what is gross.  I’m not going into much detail on this one but dealing with my own body changes and definitely dealing with dirty diapers and spit-up, I am far from grossed out by much of anything right now.

This motherhood business is hard. I’ve never been one to look down on stay-at-home moms.  I knew

My baby girl earlier this month showing off her new skill of standing.

My baby girl earlier this month showing off her new skill of standing.

motherhood was hard.  I didn’t know it would be like this — and that’s both good and bad.  The first couple of months were a blur.  With multiple minor complications for us, it was tough.  I remember my first hair cut when Lexiana was about six weeks old.  My hairdresser (who’s children are grown) said to me, “Isn’t being a mom great?”  I agreed it was, but inside I thought, “Heck, no!”  I can smile at that now.  Now I get the greatness.  But then I was working so hard to survive and take care of my baby girl that I missed it.  And that’s OK, too.  I know I’ll have other moments like that, but the goodness of being a mother makes the difficulty pale in comparison.

Life goes too fast. And with all that said, it all goes too fast.  I feel like just yesterday I was pregnant and getting anxious to have my baby.  Yet at the same time, I feel like I’ve had Lexiana for a long time.  It’s funny how that works.  Everyone says kids grow up too fast.  Man, it really is true.  My baby girl is becoming more girl and less baby.  I’m proud of her, but at the same time I miss the tiny baby days.  I am overwhelmed to think of all that we have left in front of us.  There will be boys, cars, braces, prom and more.  And I will look back and think of her first birthday with the same bittersweetness.  I’m sure it will still be moving too fast, but I wouldn’t trade a second of it for the world.  I will grasp each moment and cherish it for what it is at the time.  One day at a time indeed!

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  1. Karyn wrote:

    Awww! My son’s first birthday is in 6 days. This post, especially the part about someday looking back on this first birthday with bittersweetness, made my eyes well up. Happy First Birthday Lexiana, and momma too!

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