Recently I thought it would be fun to revisit one of my favorite old blog posts, “The True Story of Our First Few Months” and see how Jem’s Baby Days compare.
The major common theme is that the first months of having an infant are overwhelming. With Abby, I was on a steep learning curve, despite my “vast” previous experience with children. Everything took so much energy, from keeping us both fed and clean to packing the diaper bag and getting in and out of Target before Abby needed to nurse again. I didn’t go to church for six weeks, and for at least three I wouldn’t go shopping without taking Stephen or my mom along for moral and tactical support.
In contrast, our normal life barely hiccuped when Jem was born. With a three-year-old around, staying home was one of the least relaxing things to do, so we went back to Bible study when Jem was ten days old, and at two weeks I took him with me on an overnight women’s retreat. (My mom was with me there, giving me an invaluable extra set of hands.) Tied snugly in his Moby wrap, Baby Jem has seen a host of wonders that Baby Abby couldn’t have dreamed of: Toddler Play at the local gym, story time at the library, two Christmas concerts, a late showing of Breaking Dawn Part II, and every park and Chick Fil A within a 60 mile radius.
The Proper Care and Feeding of Jem has been a breeze (partly because he’s the easiest baby in the world); keeping up with the rest of my life has been the challenge. I’ll make the case in a couple of points:
I used to wonder why anyone needed more than one laundry basket, because it was so easy to fold every item of clothing as it came out of the dryer and deliver the neat stacks immediately to the appropriate closet. Now it seems like laundry explodes out of every cranny in the house, and I constantly have multiple baskets overflowing with dirty clothes to be washed, clean clothes to be folded, folded clothes to be put away. I’m washing and folding constantly, and yet every time I need one of my three shirts that fit, I find them all on the closet floor with shoulders smelling like sour milk.
Meanwhile, my hair is in the midst of its post-partum mass exodus, Abby’s favorite thing is playing with scissors and glue, my family wants to eat at least three times a day, and bills keep coming in the mail. There are taxes to file, baby clothes to switch out, errands to run, and somehow Abby always needs help in the bathroom in the exact moment that I’ve gotten settled down to nurse Jem.
All this, when what I really want to do is sit under a blanket with a space heater and read a long book from cover to cover.
But what I learned when Abby was a baby is even more true this time around: This Too Shall Pass. And knowing how quickly that happens helps me turn a blind eye to the laundry baskets and dirty dishes at least a few times a day so that I can join a play-food picnic, or listen to a long story about Abby and her imaginary sisters, or snuggle with Jem for a few extra minutes when he falls asleep while he’s eating.
This is not the season of the clean house or the fancy dinners, the regular blogs and up-to-date scrapbooks, or the restful nights and shirts with clean shoulders. But I’m trying to enjoy this season for what it IS: the season of tea parties and books read thirty times a day; of gummy smiles and a baby that stays where I put him; of construction paper confetti and stickers stuck to everything; of pink nightgowns and matching ponytails; of Bumbos and Boppys and baby babbles. And, of course, coffee. Lots of coffee.