Fair warning: this post is not about food. If you’re not into reading about another mom gushing over her baby, I promise my next post is dessert-related. However, I’ve been lucky enough to share some of the important events in my life on this site with you, my lovely readers, so I hope you enjoy this little piece I wrote (have been writing for the last month!) for Isabelle as she turns six months old.
I read this oft-forwarded piece about not carpe diem, which hit me at the perfect time because at
five six months, Isabelle is seriously accelerating in all her developments (she can sit up! and hold things!) and I’m getting all teary-eyed about the end of her first year approaching. Silly, right? To already be thinking of her 1st birthday? But when you can virtually see the changes in her from day to day, and you have everyone telling you, “Enjoy this time while you can!” I kind of enter a panic mode instead. Am I enjoying this time enough? She’s my first child, and I don’t know if she’ll be my only. What if I miss out on something and I never have the chance to experience it again? Should I be photographing more? Should I have the video recorder on all the time? Why was I on the computer when I should have been playing with her? Look at all these other moms who’ve documented every step of their children’s development! Why didn’t I do that? Where’s the freaking pause button on life? All of which leads me into a spiraling frenzy of agitation and guilt that certainly guarantees I’m not enjoying anything, at this moment.
I guess I’m starting to sound like one of those crazed parents: probably true, but I think it’s the pragmatic planner in me that would like to know the precise roadmap of my child’s life so I don’t miss out on anything at every stage of her development. It’s human nature, I guess to want good things to last forever. I know that she will continue to grow and change, and that every age will hold its surprises and joys, but it’s hard, when I’m enjoying this time so much, to not want to stay suspended in this period, and not think that she is just absolutely perfect, right at this instant.
Confirmation of why I’m loving this time so much: here’s another quote that I found online, in an article where parents were asked about their favorite age. One parent replied, “That run up to 18 months is stupendously gorgeous, like watching the buildings of a city light up at night, a million light switches being flipped on.The other ages beyond that were cool and beautiful but 18 months was a fantasy.” Yes, precisely. I feel like these days it’s constant astonishment at all the things she’s starting to do. At five and half months, she virtually changed into a different baby over the weekend. Whereas she had rolled from front to back before but seemed to lose interest in doing it, now she rolls front to back and back to front with aplomb. She was doing the wobbly-sitting-in-mom’s-lap-for-30-seconds thing, now all of a sudden she can sit up by herself – and gets mad when I try to lay her down! Instead of just reaching for her hanging toys, now she grabs for everything within reach – watching her manual dexterity develop is fascinating. She actively looks around to see what’s going on, seeking me, Dad, or Snickers out – when she sees me walking away, the expression on her face morphs into full-on betrayal and the cries of dismay are, well, loud.
A couple weeks ago I noticed she was watching me eating an apple. I held a slice near her mouth, and she started licking away at it like she’d been dying to get started on solid food! When I took it away, she started squawking angrily and very clearly gave me a look that said, “I want it back!” At that moment I felt an almost physical thrill that I had truly communicated with my baby and we were moving to the next level of understanding each other, followed by an immense wistfulness that she was really, truly, no longer my tiny little newborn. Up until the last month, with life mostly revolving around the simplicity of eating, sleeping, pooping, and making her smile, it’d been easy to sometimes think of her as the world’s cutest little doll. But with this recent developmental spurt, I can now see her becoming her own little person, exploring her big new world and developing her own little personality. It feels like my heart is unfurling and expanding with a mix of awe, terror, and joy until it’s about to burst from my chest.
What’s next? Well, as a first time parent of course it’s all a rollercoaster ride in the dark. While there are ups and downs (I’ll be the last person to ever try and claim 100% bliss all the time with a 100% perfect child), I am always mindful how lucky I am that she’s been a relatively sweet, easygoing, and problem-free baby so far, and it carries me through all the trickier moments. So maybe not so much the frenzied focus on carpe diem, but rather a thoughtful harvesting of all those kairos moments every day.
Because holy moly, do I ever love her.
Here we are celebrating six months for Isabelle with a little something from b. patisserie!
The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.
– Ruth Hamilton