My most handsome Mr. Baggins,
You've made it through your first month, Son! Just as importantly, I've made it through your first month, which I value as a real accomplishment given the total disdain with which I regard the physical nature of those first few days post-birthing. Don't worry, it's not your fault. You are small and warm and needy in all the right ways, just like I had hoped. I love your little baby movements, all jerky and uncontrolled. I love the smell of you right after a bath and the way your neck looks so thin when it's all stretched out during a yawn. I even love the loud, snorty sort of way you breathe at night, full of hiccups and grunts and other-worldly sort of noises that I can't imagine your tiny throat accommodating.
It's my part of this whole game that I despise so much. I am lucky; my physical recovery from both your birth and your sister's was quick and mostly pain-free. It's just that it's so... unpleasant for those first few days. To be honest, I hate being that in tune with my body. (Those monks with the meditation don't know what the crap they're talking about as far as I'm concerned.) I'd much rather enjoy the blissful ignorance I normally exist in without being so acutely aware of every nook and cranny of my body. Each day for a week or so after you were born I'd put my forehead on the cool mirror of the bathroom, close my eyes, and say, "Buck up, kiddo! This is the worst this will feel because tomorrow will be better than today."
And guess what! It was. Every day was less of a hassle than the day before until blammo-- the worst of it is over and I can mostly ignore myself again. As Bug would say: Huh-vay!
Now that we're all pretty much back up to speed, we're working on getting into a routine that involves more sleeping at night (your part) and less tv watching (much to your sister's chagrin.) We are enjoying that absolutely gorgeous weather by taking long walks with you wrapped up tight to my chest in your sling and Bug pointing out every whee-ya and stick along the route. It is fantastic.
Learning to be a mommy to two little people at once is alternately harder and easier than I expected. Bug is mostly learning to be patient while I feed you, and there is generally enough time while you are resting to get her fed and the house straightened without any real issues. I've also remembered that a little crying never hurt anyone, so if Bug melts down because I can't get her any goldfish crackers while you're nursing or if you get upset in your bouncy seat while I read her a story before nap time, it's just not the end of the world. Before I know it, everyone's needs are met and we are back on our merry little way.
The more challenging scenarios are those that take us out of our normal routine. Daddy and I decided on a whim to take you two up the canyon to the outlets in Park City the other day because the weather was simply too nice to go back home. We parked, and Daddy set up the stroller and strapped Bug in while I tied on my sling and snuggled you in nice and comfy. By the time all kids were accounted for with associated wubbys and sippy cups and the fully stocked diaper bag, we were nearly ready to pack up the car and head back home!
We are getting used to it, though, and certainly wouldn't have it any other way. The more I feel I'm getting the hang of this, the more I am amazed at the reality of it. I am a mother to two children. My high school sweetheart is now the father of my babies. Babies! Plural!
There was a moment a couple of days ago when I found myself marveling at it all. I bounced you gently in my arms to calm your little crying voice, and my little copper-haired princess came toddling over. "Don't cry, Mr. Baggins," she said, in real life using the little nickname she has for you in her gentle little sing-song voice. "It's o-tay." And then, turning to me, "Mommy! He's so tooooot!" And I thought about carrying you, and her, and the beautiful birthing and the yuckiness that comes after it, and it was all so worth it. I cannot believe I am lucky enough to have you, both of you, to see what it has made of me.
That's why I imagine women are so eager to talk about those very first few moments, why the slightest hint of interest from a willing (and sometimes not-so-willing) audience opens a hidden floodgate and the details of pregnancy and birth or infertility or loss spill out in a rush. That's why pregnant women find themselves drowning in advice and opinions and yes, even horror stories of carrying and birthing and recovering and raising. That's why blogs are full of intimate bodily details, and a careful listener at a baby shower is virtually guaranteed to hear 'cervix' and 'placenta' and 'episiotomy' sprinkled through the hum of oohs and ahhs at tiny sleepers.
We can't help it.
I can only speak for myself, Child, and my two lovely experiences, but this is what I think. No matter how it happens, be it planned or traumatic or painful or blissful, something happens in that moment. I am not sure it matters whether a midwife lifts an infant from a bathtub in the living room, or a doctor pulls a baby from a long incision in a surgical bay, or a social worker gently places a child in the arms of her new waiting family-- in the grand scheme of it all I'm not sure those details matter so much as what happens to that girl in that instant when she becomes a mother.
I can't be sure, of course, but I know that something happened to me in that moment, and I know that it mattered, maybe more than almost anything else.
And now I guess that's a lot to take in for such a small boy. I can see you sleeping, all wrapped up tight the way you like and breathing in your own little loud way, and I think maybe it's time to just tell you I love you, boy-child, and curl up with you for a little nap.
Because let's face it. Your sister will be awake soon, and then all this meditation on the wonder of new life flies right out the window because I know we are out of goldfish crackers.
Love you to the moon and back,