Babies Don’t Keep – Serene’s Baby Turns One!
One of our Mama Bear Club writers, Serene, had her baby last December and sent us this lovely blog about the beautiful and hard moments she experienced in her first year of motherhood, as well as some key lessons she learned.
A December Baby Turns One
Somewhere between morning snuggles, frosty walks and bedtime stories last week, my little boy suddenly changed from a baby into a toddler. It snuck up on me and caught me by surprise. Despite celebrating his birthday the weekend before, the immensity of the past year didn’t really hit me until I realized, the night before his actual birthday, that it was a full year ago that I went into labour with him. By the time 9:30pm on his birthday rolled around, I was fully reliving the surreal moment he was born and my heart expanded faster than I thought possible.
From Baby to Toddler
When a baby turns one, it doesn’t automatically mean you no longer have a baby – some babies start walking and talking at 9 months like my niece and some still seem like a baby at 18 months. In my son’s case however, he went from no teeth, army crawling and no talking/signing to 6 teeth, full-on rapid crawling, pulling himself up, standing, cruising and clear words and signs all within 6 weeks. Combined with my return to work a month ago, it feels like my little baby vanished into thin air and this sweet little boy is now in his place.
Making Time To Pause
It leaves me so torn. On the one hand, I am so happy he is growing, changing, learning and blossoming into this amazing little person. On the other hand, I miss my tiny little bean. The first year of his life was so full of learning how to look after this small human, learning how to use a breast pump, navigating developmental leaps, and researching how to introduce solids and avoid allergies, that I sometimes feel like I didn’t spend enough time just soaking up the baby. I know that I did my best to make time to just pause, to just love on my son and live in the moment, but I do know it got harder and harder as ‘life outside the baby’ returned as we left the newborn stage
The Best Christmas Gift
He won’t ever be a baby again, and while I do, truly, know that that’s a good thing and he is ready for this next part of his life, I would be lying if I said I was ready. Christmas is always going to bring back memories of the first few weeks of his life, snuggled up on the couch or in bed in our matching jammies (yes, we have matching jammies and absolutely no shame about it), watching Christmas movies with my tiny son sleeping on my chest. While those memories feel a bit bittersweet this year while trying to wrestle my newly minted toddler into rain boots, I know this Christmas will bring new, beautiful memories too. It already has – by some stroke of luck the night we put up our Christmas decorations and lights, it snowed for the first time this winter.
When my son woke up in the morning, he first saw the snow outside and was entranced. Then we plugged in the Christmas tree and had a moment that felt straight out of a movie – my son looked at the tree, the snow, and then us in awe and then a huge smile cracked across his face. I wish I could have caught it on video, but it will live forever in my memory.
The Years Are Short
There are a lot of cliché saying about kids but one of my favourites is ‘the days are long, but the years are short.’ It is devastatingly true. I could (and probably will one day) write an entire blog about how your body forcibly adapts to 3-hour wake windows when your child is 5 weeks old. Or my experience with introducing solids (spoiler alert: my child is a carnivore) at 5 and a half months. Or the joy I felt when my husband‘s family in another country finally got to meet my child at 9 months.
There were so many hard and beautiful things that happened in this past year, and they’re all mixed in with some long days of feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and completely underprepared for parenthood. Somehow a year has flashed by but there are moments where, mentally, it is still 2:45am, 4 days after I’ve given birth, and I’ve fallen asleep laying on the bed breastfeeding while my husband stayed awake to make sure my son was okay because he was cluster feeding.
Take All The Photos
I’m not saying stay glued to your phone and convince your baby that they’re an upcoming child star. However, I am so incredibly glad I took an average of 600 photos every month (yes, that is the real number) this year. Now, when I am sobbing into my tea over the fact my baby is no longer a baby, I can scroll back through every stage of growth and change he has had this year and lean into those memories. I can soak them up and relive them whenever I need, even if I wasn’t as acutely aware and grateful for them as they happened.
Enjoy your babies Mamas. Take it from me – they don’t keep.
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