I kept on looking for a good moment to sit down and type out a nice thoughtful blog post about life these days, but that moment never came. Or it did come, and it seemed a whole lot more important to actually go to the bathroom or eat something with two hands or shower. The new normal in our life has many fewer moments for waxing poetic on the Internet, but I’m ok with that. The new normal is an endless process of banal observations that seem life changing, little victories, and new experiences.
All pregnancy, it was hard to know what to get excited about when I thought about this baby actually being with us. I am not actually a “baby person,” not someone who has always been enthralled with infants. What do you do with a baby? While I love kids, babies were somewhat of a foreign entity- adorable in the abstract but mysterious. Yet I did know that I would love strolling around the city with our little boy, and this has proven true. We get in a walk of at least a couple hours every day, strolling with friends or just wandering Capitol Hill on our own. The humidity has magical power over our heat-loving boy and he usually falls asleep within minutes of being out in the swampy DC summer, ensuring this mama some calm and an excuse to be out and about. When James was off for paternity leave last week it was especially wonderful, wandering our neighborhood as a family of three.
I also looked forward to leisurely snuggling with my quietly sleeping babe. Sometimes this happens, and it is wonderful. Other times, that babe is far from quietly sleeping, and the snuggle is more of a pace/bounce/panic embrace. And other times, I snuggle away, all while fighting nagging whispers from Babywise or other sleep-training books that I should be forcing him to sleep on his own instead of in my arms. I struggled with this a lot over the past couple weeks, trying to balance the tension between wanting to start instilling good habits in him now in every domain, and wondering how much you can “teach” a newborn, and wouldn’t it be better to just cherish where he is at? So we have been snuggling our days away for the most part, and taking a little firmer stance at night, which has mostly worked.
There are so many words to describe these first four weeks of learning how to be Henry’s parents. Fear, as I still panic at least once or twice a night and shine a flashlight in his face to see if he’s alive, often following it with a poke if he was sleeping too peacefully. Joy, as watching him experience even the tiniest milestones (eye contact! tummy time! baths!) has us squealing. Exhaustion, as sometimes I think that I just can’t wake up for another early morning feeding. Disgust, because babies are really gross. Stress, because I wonder how I will ever get anything done again and HOW IS THERE SO MUCH LAUNDRY FROM SUCH A TINT PERSON?
But mostly wonder. Wonder at this little life that is entrusted to us, at this little body that is so tiny and pure, but growing stronger each day. At this soul that trusts us so completely and this human who gets to be a new chance for something good in the world. Four weeks in and we are in total wonder at our baby boy.