With Knox’s first birthday fast approaching, I’ve begun to consider what it is that really brings about that weepy, lump-in-the-throat feeling that we mommies get as we realize how fast our babies are growing before our very eyes. Is it the memories ended and lost, the fear of the unknown, the resistance to change? Whatever it may be, it’s hard to face.
However, I’ve decided not to write a rambling, gloomy post about how unfair it is that Knox can’t stay my little tiny baby forever. No, I won’t do it. I want to write about how wonderful and amazing and perfect this year has been. I want to celebrate the fact that I not only kept this child alive for a full year, but I somehow managed to keep him from being completely dependent and spoiled (so far) and embrace the future knowing there is so much to look forward to. So, in the spirit of celebration, I’d like to highlight my favorite moments from baby-hood. These are the moments I hope to carve deeply in my memory forever, however tight I have to clutch them as the time races by threatening to obliterate them.
My first, and foremost, favorite moments of having a baby are, hands-down, nursing moments. This might sound ridiculous or silly to some people, but I absolutely, positively love nursing him. I know I’ve mentioned this before but it has truly ended up being the most positive experience I’ve ever had in my entire life, and I’ll try to be brief in explaining why.
Primarily, I think it is because breastfeeding was something that was so important to me, while it was also one of the most significant challenges I’ve ever faced. It is hard to appreciate something that you didn’t have to work to achieve, and, with breastfeeding, I worked my butt off, and it was worth every ounce of pain, every tear, every deep breath, every late night trip to the drug store and all of the many hours of lost sleep over the course of the past 11 months. And, yes, I’m even fine with the fact that my breasts will never look the way they did before breastfeeding. Actually, I almost like them more now, having discovered their almost magical powers.
Secondly, I love these moments because of the closeness they bring; the bond, the completely and totally unique moments I get to share with him that no one else gets to. I love the fact that, even in the most chaotic of times, we get to sneak off and breathe together; collect ourselves and enjoy some peace, no matter where we are. I also love the learning experience that was born out of these moments. How to nurse was the first of many things that Knox taught me, and I can’t wait to learn all of the wonderful lessons he has in store for me.
And, lastly, the time I spent nursing gave me so much confidence in my ability to mother. I felt like once I conquered the art of breastfeeding that I could take on anything. I made me realize that only I can give my son what is best for him and that is my job, my instinct, my nature. Nursing moments are a gift that I am thankful for every day.
Favorite Sweet Nursing Moment(s): Last evening feedings as he drifts off to sleep.
Favorite Funny Nursing Moment(s): Distracted baby de-latch = fire hose nipple = milky eye.
Moments of Smiles & Laughter
Happy times are something everyone wants to remember forever, but baby happiness is somehow just completely unlike any other. The giggles. The involuntary, uncontainable first smiles that gave us chills while simultaneously melting our hearts, the smiles that say “I know you,” or even, “I love you.” And those laughs that only I can get him to laugh - the deep belly chuckles that keep me repeating whatever embarrassingly ridiculous thing (that I have somehow discovered) for hours on end, just so I can hear them one more time.
Favorite Smile: First-thing-in-the-morning Smile.
Favorite Laugh: I’m-gonna-getcha-tickle-tickle Laugh.
And then, there are the tears, which were not a highlight, however, the aftermath of the tears is something that I want to remember. The times when mine was the only shoulder he would cry on and end up in smiles, when he reached for only me, knowing I would make it better with a few smooches and a rub on the back. I love being the one he needs and I love knowing how to fix all of his tiny problems. I know there will come a day when his problems are too big for my little arms, but for now, they’re enough to fight all of his tiny tears away.
Favorite SuperMommy Moment: Knox falling asleep on my shoulder at the ER at 4 a.m. after coughing and having trouble breathing all night long. I was as exhausted and emotionally drained as I’ve ever been, yet still mustered the strength to stand up and sway slowly long enough so he could rest and fall asleep on my shoulder. I was scared and I wanted to cry, throw up and crumble up into a ball all at once, but he didn’t see that – he saw me smile, stroke his head and tell him everything was alright. In that moment, I knew, more than ever, that I could and would do anything for this perfect little person in my arms.
Speaking of smooches – let’s talk wide-mouth, drooling wet, toothy baby kisses…there’s nothing else like them. Knox grabs my ears and yanks me to his face, sometimes the kiss ends up on my nose, or my cheekbone, eyebrow, eye, ears or neck. Wherever it ends up, it doesn’t matter, I love every kiss he’s ever planted on me. I wish I could have baby kisses forever, and that is one thing I will not apologize for being weepy about.
Favorite Baby Kiss(es): Floor-chasing/rough-housing kisses.
Of course, all of the many “firsts” that come with baby-hood, are all things that stand out from this first year. First smile, first roll-over, first laugh, first sitting up, first steps, first foods, first teeth, first words…and all of the firsts before, after and in between. It was truly remarkable and incredible to watch my creation learn all of these basic things, to watch him grow into this reflection of myself and my husband. I treasure those firsts, and always will. When I think about his firsts, it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that they will never be firsts again…even though he has many other firsts to come, these are all in the past now. I’m not sure why, but that concept is one that baffles me each time I ponder it.
Favorite First Word (“Kitty”) I was in awe at his genius. :)
No explanation needed, right? If you’ve ever seen a baby dance, you know it’s the cutest thing in the entire world. No, really, there is nothing cuter than a baby dancing – NOTHING. I dare you to name something cuter.
Favorite Dancing Song: The Hoppity Song
Bedtime Story Moments
Since the very beginning, I wanted bedtime stories to be a tradition never to be broken. I won’t say we’ve never skipped a night when he was just too tired or hungry or when we were out of town and forgot a book, but for the most part, we’ve shared a story every night before bedtime. I love his tired little eyes looking at the pictures, his hands as they started to point at the faces, his noises as he tries to imitate the animal sounds I make…I love it all. It’s just a really peaceful, cute time with him and I love the constancy of it. Sometimes, just thinking about the bedtime story can get me through a tough day.
Favorite Bedtime Story: “Night Night, Little Pookie”
Of course, there are so many more special moments that touched my heart over the past year, and, honestly, as much as I am sad to see it go, the greatness of it gives me such hope, such high expectation and such excitement for the next year…and the next and the next…
I’m so proud of this little man it’s incomprehensible. He stole my heart the first time I saw him and he still takes my breath away every single day.
I love you and love you, bud-bud…and love you and love you and love you and love you.
Happy 11 month birthday to YOU.