The Pendulum Swing

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These are the days. I’m sitting on the couch drinking coffee and watching Wren scoot around on her mat, playing quietly. She looks up at me, I smile and say “hi Wren!” She gets a huge grin on her face and then returns to what she was doing. I’ve realized we made it. We’re on the other side of the pendulum. I’ve been waiting for this for months. For the first time since she was born I’m no longer looking forward. I’m just here in this time with her. I don’t want her to get older, though I’m excited to see her continue to grow. But there’s no rush, even though the relentless nature of time means it will slip by anyway. It took six months to adjust to each other. Growing is hard, for all of us. But here we are. The pendulum has swung from uncertainty to certain, deciding to have a child was the right choice. I look at her and am overwhelmed with a love I’ve never known, and feel the utmost privilege to get to experience. There’s my heart just rolling around on the floor in front of me. Its the most vulnerable and joyful experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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Ireland + 6 Months

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Six months. Yesterday was Wren’s half birthday! I’m having trouble wrapping my brain around this fact. It feels like moments ago that we took her home. And yet it’s astounding how different life is now than it was then. Even more, how much she’s changed. Not only from a newborn, but in the past two months. Months four and five have been huge in terms of development and change (with a trip abroad thrown in for good measure).

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Four Months

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It’s been a year since I started looking forward. Mid February 2017 I found out I was pregnant. From there I looked forward to all the pregnancy milestones, I spent weeks wondering if I’d keep the baby. Once the first trimester ended I looked towards viability, then the inevitable countdown of the third trimester. Once Wren was here it was a blur for the first few weeks, but then we looked again, mostly towards when sleep when improve. To the end of the dreaded first two months, to the end of the 4th trimester. I realized this week, as Wren turned 4 months old that I haven’t stopped thinking to the future in a long time.

It started Sunday, the week she would turn 4 months old. Our pretty good sleeper who would get up once or twice at night suddenly needed to get up ever two hours. It wrecked me. It lasted three days. Three long days. If I had written this post then I would have sworn up and down I’d never have another child. Just when I felt like our lives were really calming down, everything was improving and sleep was steadily improving, bam! A regression, or growth spurt, or mental development. It really is always something. Three days for what turned out to be a growth spurt isn’t that bad, but in it you don’t know when it might end. I know women who have babies that have been sleeping terribly for a month (or more). So you wait at night and wonder, is this going to happen again tonight? The night she went back to sleeping normally I couldn’t, a ball of anxiety waiting to hear her stir. But then, like all things baby related it ended and she’s back to good sleep and being happy. Until, of course, the next thing. So it’s hard not to look forward to when things will get a bit more predictable.

I’m trying to stay in the moment with her, she’s learning and developing so much lately. And it’s incredible how sudden it is. One minute she’s laying there and the next she’s grabbing her toes. She’s so incredibly alert now, she responds when you call to her across the room, she grabs and inspects toys (and puts them in her mouth), she is very vocal (and lets you know when she’s displeased). It’s amazing to witness. At RIE class she spends most of her time  silently watching and taking in the older babies. She seems so interested in everything around her. But I’m still looking forward to when she can stay up longer, to when she consolidates her naps, to when she sleeps all the way through the night. To sitting up! To rolling, to communication. I think I’ve finally accepted there will always be something, and that I need to cherish the good days when they are here. The first year of parenthood is notoriously hard, and I feel like we’re coping well, though my running is nowhere near where I want it, and I miss my social life that didn’t revolve around kids. And I know things will continue to get back to “normal” or the new normal as she approaches one year. Ultimately I can’t imagine life without her, so even on days when I question our decision to become parents, I know I’d do anything for her and feel so incredibly lucky to have her.

And we are close to seeing more normal. One third through her first year. How is this possible? How am I buying spoons and cups and getting ready to introduce solids? A milestone I’m very excited for. I know breastfeeding is easy and convenient but it is such a tether and I can’t wait to be done around a year. How am I starting to think about baby-proofing, or at least a gate as I watch her scoot across the floor? She’s still so small, at just 12lbs she’s the size of many babies who are 3 months old so I forget how much older she’s getting when we just this week took out her carseat and carrier infant inserts.  But I know time is only going to speed up. By time I wrote this its just three weeks until she’s 5 months old. I really want to slow down with her, to appreciate and enjoy who she is now, because that changes weekly.

The next few months until she’s 6-months is filled with travel. In two weeks we head to Pullman where she’ll meet the animals, and then a few weeks later we head to Ireland. By the time we get back she’ll be six months and a whole new baby. Which is so strange to think about. It’s also when she’ll learn object permanence and certainly all this travel isn’t great for her sleep so we might have a sleep situation on our hands when we return. But I guess that’s a future us problem! I can’t wait to see what she learns by then!

Costa Rica

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Ever since I knew I wanted to have kids-which happened sometime in my late twenties-I’ve thought about what it might look like to travel with them. I always saw us as a family of four traversing some far-flung landscape. But our kids were older, maybe twelve and eight. I didn’t think as much about traveling with a baby, though I assumed we would. Until we actually had a baby I always envisioned my future family life well past the infant stage. So when it came time to pack up and head off with Wren I didn’t have many expectations. Mostly, I just hoped it wouldn’t be a disaster.

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