As I write, my little sweet pea sits at my feet under the desk, eating receipts out of the office trash. She loves the paper and I can only say “not in your mouth” so many times before I just give up. It’s moments like these that remind me how good I am at this.
Like earlier this week when I came strolling out of the B-Dubs bathroom like it was no big deal that I had a naked baby in one hand and poopy clothes in the other. I was ill-prepared for a blow out because aren’t we over those?! So we strolled out into the April snow wearing the spare onesie I had in my purse, her winter coat, and absolutely nothing on the lower half. Just like we planned it.
I don’t usually get choked up about milestones, but we’re closing in on a year of being parents and I find myself surprisingly emotional. I also don’t think we’re total dummies, even though we have our “rear-view moments” of seeing how we could have done things differently.
But that’s parenting. It’s trial and error, and learning along the way. Absolutely no one is doing it perfectly, even though you think just maybe you will (spoiler: you won’t).
There are so many things I think I’ll never forget, but the reality is there are just too many things and since I can’t barely remember what I did last week, I’m not sure what makes me think I’ll remember every single detail of the first year.
Sure, there are things I’d like to forget. Like every single second of labor, the first time she took a big fall or the look of pain when she was fighting off ear infections or teething.
I simply cannot forget how hard those first few months were. How I felt totally lost and unsure of myself as a mother. How I felt like I fell into every room head first, floundering and just trying to keep my head above water.
I won’t forget the 6 months she wore a helmet, even thought I’d sometimes like to. All the doctors appointments and tears, the adjusting to new normal’s and letting go of how I thought her first year would go. The embracing of the “different” and the unplanned.
It’s all a part of who we both were the first year of her life, and how we became who we are today.
I won’t remember every sweet thing, but I don’t want to forget all the feelings. Or the sounds. The newborn coos and sneezes. The first babbles and hums. The nonsense chatter and the giggles. The first few giggles brought tears to my eyes, because being a parent turns you to goo.
I’ll never forget the sleepy cuddles or the way she used to stretch after eating, her bottom lip pouting out. How impossibly tiny her fingernails were, and how impossible she made it for me to cut them.
I adore how she crawls like a charging rinosaurous, her head down, barreling forward and hoping for the best. She’s goofy and funny and her scrunched up nose makes me want to kiss her face all over. And I usually do.
Because more than the milestones, I want to remember the moments. How excited she gets when I come in her room after her nap. The complete and utter fascination she’s always had with books. The way she loves clapping for herself. Even the perpetual tugging on my legs when I’m trying to get anything done has it’s own needy sweetness.
She waves at strangers and hams it up like it’s her job. She’s friendly and joyful and content.
Oh, how I love her so.
I will admit, below the surface of my innocent newborn, a tiny toddler is starting to emerge with opinions and preferences and I’m not sure I’m ready for all that. She’s starting to get sneaky. Like padding her actions of misbehaving with sweet smiles and babbles to throw us off her scent. And it works. Cuz we’re marshmallows.
Some day I’m sure I will have to write about discipline and tough love, but today is soft, sweet, squishy love.
I love the bedtime stories and won’t forget the walking around to get her to sleep. The way her hair smells after a bath and how I sometimes thought about curling up in her crib next to her.
The beloved book about the beloved hippopotamus that I don’t want to read one more beloved time, but I will.
Because these are the moments I never want to forget.
I may never get around to making her a detailed photo album of her childhood, or remember what day she got her first tooth. But I have worked hard this last year to be present, to nurture even when I’m exhausted and to be kind when I’m tired. To make sure she knows she is safe, she is loved, she is enjoyed, and she will always be taken care of.
And if those are the things she remembers, then I think we’ve done our job as parents well.