My daughter will be a year old this month. Part of me can’t believe that my tiny little girl is already a (tiny) 1-year-old. And there’s another part of me that can’t believe that she isn’t already in kindergarten because I don’t remember what our lives were like before she was part of them.
I’m an over-preparer. A year ago when I was waiting for Elliot to make her big arrival, I read everything I could get my hands on. I didn’t have a baby so I actually had time to do things like read. I made a plan for what I would do if my water broke at work. I researched what contractions felt like so I would recognize them when they started. I prepared myself emotionally for the fact that breastfeeding would probably be hard for awhile.
We had a pretty easy adjustment to parenthood, which I credit partially to my daughter being an easy baby and partially to the fact that I felt emotionally prepared. Yes, I wasn’t sleeping much, but I knew that would be the case. I had prepared myself to be exhausted. Yes, she seemed to nurse constantly, but I knew that would be the case. I had prepared myself to do nothing else for a few weeks.
But of course, there were also surprises. Things that I could never have planned for or things that I just didn’t realize came along with motherhood.
I was totally unprepared for the amount of time my daughter would be… kind of a blob. In my head, babies were a lot like the 11-month-old I have now, not like the newborn that we brought home. I didn’t realize it would be months before she’d even smile at us, let alone laugh. I didn’t realize that she really would be small and helpless and unable to even grab a toy for what felt like an eternity.
I was totally unprepared for the snot. I knew there would be poop. I knew there would be spit-up. I didn’t realize that the disgustingness of baby boogers would far exceed either of those—and that one of her early talents would be blowing snot bubbles out of her nose. Ew.
I was totally unprepared for the amount of time I would spend doing new, baby-related chores. Pumping at work, washing bottles and pump parts, washing her diapers, packing her food for child care, doing her laundry, making sure that her favorite blue bunny gets washed at least once a week because he spends the majority of his life alternating between her mouth and the floor. It’s probably close to an hour a day, more on some days.
I was totally unprepared for how funny she’d become. The simplest things are really, really funny when she does them. Have you ever seen an 11-month old shake her head “no”? Because it’s seriously hilarious. Especially if said 11-month old has hair that looks a lot like Justin Bieber’s.
I was totally unprepared for how I’d want to be with her all the time. The hardest part of being a working mom for me is that I miss her. All the time. I love spending time with her and if I could figure out a way to permanently strap her to my side and never let anyone else hold her, I would probably do it.
I know that the next year of parenting adventures will only bring more surprises, though I’m sure that at some point shaking her head “no” will become a lot less funny.