Kid Chronicles The adventures and random observations of a new mom

6Feb/111

Baby boot camp

Baby L: the screaming force of nature that's changed my life

They tell you your life will change forever, and you hear them say it and think you understand what they mean.

"Of course my life will be different," you think.  "I'll have a child.  That's obviously different since I don't have a child right now."

But what you don't get is that  you will suddenly have a new being in your life that will consume almost every waking moment of your time and probably a lot of your sleeping moments, too.  Or rather, you get that this is about to happen, but you underestimate how monumentally this will change everything.

I'm looking back over the last month and thinking of it as sort of a boot camp.  A baby boot camp.

From the second the hospital staff held up her crying, curled body for me to see her until now, one month later, I've been in baby boot camp.  And most people have a pretty good idea of what that is: midnight feedings, diaper changes, soothing the crying spells, encouraging the little smiles that you hope are real smiles and not just gas.

But not everyone knows what it is physically and emotionally, especially someone like me who hasn't spent much time around infants.  The sleep deprivation alone is enough to seriously affect anyone's outlook and attitude.  Add to that the seemingly unsolvable mysteries of why your baby is crying and how do you get her to stop, and it can quickly become overwhelming.

I've spent the last month learning so much. How to change a diaper so it (hopefully) doesn't leak.  When the baby is in your arms, it's a good policy to have a burp cloth on your shoulder, too.  What to do if the baby spits up everything you just fed her (in most cases, feed her all over again).

Baby boot camp has made me do crazy things.  Things I never thought I'd have the stamina to do, like sitting up with her in a chair for  hours on end to try to get her to eat.  Things like stopping the car on the side of the road to get out and check on her because she made a funny noise in the car seat and I'm worried she stopped breathing.

But baby boot camp isn't all stress and worry.  Baby boot camp has also made me look at my future in a new way.

I look down at this little girl sleeping soundly on the pillow on my lap as I type, and I think about all the things I want to show her in this world.

I want to take her to all the amazing places I've traveled to so she can see them for the first time, and I can see them anew through her eyes from her perspective.  I want to tell her she can be anything she wants to be when she grows up.  I want her to believe in Santa Claus, at least for a little while.  I want to teach her to be kind and generous to others and nurture what I hope will be an independent, indomitable, free spirit.

So many things I've learned in the last month.  And so much more learning to come -- for both of us.

Yes, everything changes.  Now I think I'm beginning to understand.

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  1. All I can say is…yes. Enjoy the ride!


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