Before he could do much other than lay there and look at me with big eyes swallowed up by even bigger cheeks, back when he stayed in the same place I left him- usually a soft blanket, surrounded by new, very clean toys- he was… kinda boring.
Those days were long. Just him and me in a big house. I did a lot of staring at him, and rushing to his every cry. I kept us busy with scheduled playdates and Gymboree classes. I also found time to sanitize ALL his toys every 3 months.
The days. were. long.
I lay on the floor with my non-mobile, boring baby, in that new house with brand new carpet, the dryer humming in the background, on that teal and green blanket, in his blue onesie, with those edible cheeks that gravity was no match for.
I never knew I’d remember that the sun was streaming in the windows of his freshly painted nursery, while we listened to Raffi’s “Mr. Sun” on the iPod hooked up to the dock we bought to play music on when I was in labor with him.
She was teething. We were sure of it. A little early, perhaps, because she was only a couple months old, but her big brother got all his teeth really early, too. We were so used to her being the “easy” baby, and never crying for more than a minute. It was the first time she was inconsolable, but even her cries sounded considerate.
They were more like “waHUW waHUW waHUW” not “WAHhahWAHhaWAHahhhhggh!”
But still, our hearts were breaking, and we were beginning to get flashbacks to the colic. Oh God. Was it late onset colic?
Scott paced back and forth in front of the light of the TV with her in our otherwise dark living room. Her head resting on his shoulder, bouncing softly as he walked, patting her bottom, rubbing her back with the other hand, shushing in her ear.
The movements of a professional. Someone who’d lived this nightmare before and came out of it with muscle memory.
She was in a pink sleeper with little hearts on it. I bought it at Walmart. I remember I was surprised to find organic baby sleepers there. And it was adorable. And pink.
I never knew I’d remember that night in that pink sleeper so well, or her considerate cries, or Scott’s gentle dance.
We spent many days back on that same nursery floor when Lowell was that same, non-mobile, kinda boring baby. It didn’t smell as fresh, and the toys weren’t as new or nearly as clean.
But it was a soft spot to lay him, literally. A gentler place to roll than the hardwood floors now covering the rest of the house. He learned to roll and pull up under Kendall’s loft bed, next to his crib, while I sipped coffee from the comfort of the rocker. The room was considerably more crowded now.
And not just with stuff, but with love and people. Kendall and Leyna joined us many mornings as the sun streamed in, and did their best to make baby LoLo laugh, smile, and encourage him to crawl.
I never knew those cluttered, crowded moments would linger so clearly.
I remember thinking I couldn’t wait for my first baby’s big milestones. Oh sure, the smiling and the rolling was fun, but when did the walking and the talking start? When would he act like he actually knew me?
When I try to recall the first year of his life, the screaming and the crying almost always comes to mind first. Colic will haunt me until I die, I’m sure of it.
But as the noise pushes out of my brain, the memories I’m quick to recall, the most vivid ones aren’t the big ones. Not the first birthday party, or the holidays. Not the first steps or first words.
And the same is true (perhaps more so?) with the other two. It’s the little, random, unplanned moments that at that time seemed mostly forgettable.
Now listen, I’m not writing this to give you some kind of “cherish every moment” guilt trip. Just the opposite, in fact. It doesn’t matter if the pictures from baby’s first birthday didn’t turn out well, or if you forgot your camera at home when you visited the zoo. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to cherish those big moments.
The memories will be there. The shiniest ones might not be the ones you’d pick to display in a baby book, but that’s the imperfect beauty of life.
What are some of your little things that are now big?