My dearest Hayden,
It’s hard to believe that you will be five in a few short months. Five years of being a Mommy. Your sister and brother have, of course, also contributed to the ups and downs of mommyhood, but you were the pioneer who paved the way. The lab rat who was experimented on to see what worked and what didn’t. The case study that was researched and
read about before being put to use as a hands-on experiment.
Before you were born, I read so much. I needed to be prepared as much as possible, needed to absorb all I could so I could take care of such a fragile, dependent little being who would not only rely on me to provide food and warmth, but more importantly love and security. The thing is, babies don’t come with manuals, and no matter how much I read, nothing could quite prepare me for your arrival and the sleepless nights that would follow.
Euphoria is an understatement for the high I felt as I held you in my arms just seconds after you arrived into the harsh and cold world, crying like a jilted Smurf. It didn’t take long for your skin to turn pink and for you to settle in my arms, knowing instinctively that I was your mom and that my job was to love you no matter what. The fact that I could comfort you and calm you so quickly made me realize I had a great power and that I was so lucky to experience this phenomenon known as motherhood.
After going into labour first thing in the morning and having you mid-afternoon, I fell asleep in exhausted bliss that night. I think it took me a second to register what that crying noise was a few hours later. By the time I came to my senses and turned on the light to feed you, the dog was waiting with his head rested on the bed with your baby hat in his mouth. I think he was being a better mom than I was at that point.
Being up every few hours certainly had its share of difficulties. I remember barging in the room in the middle of the night one particularly fretful night, demanding that if your father wanted to get any sleep before he had to go to work, he’d best sleep downstairs, because I was sick of trying to keep you quiet, him asleep and me sane. You and I conquered the bedroom that night and it was several months before your dad gained ground back on his home turf. Thank goodness for the odd conjugal visit (unfortunately nowhere near as
often as before you graced us with your squalling presence).
Turns out, you were colicky. That made the first several months of your life hard for you, and by extension, us. We bounced you for hours in your bouncy chair. If we stopped, you’d start crying. It took a long while for this to pass. It sure made parenting you a bit more of a challenge. The best advice I got when I was pregnant with your sister was to take probiotics while pregnant and nursing. I did this faithfully and if I forgot a day, she would be so fussy and gassy. I wish I had this informational gold mine when you were a
baby. We could have saved you a lot of discomfort.
In the first few months of your life I learned that breastfeeding was so convenient. But I should have given you a bottle to get you used to drinking from it so I could have a night off once in a while.
I learned that a babysitter is a sanity keeper and that I could leave you with a trusted friend or family member and you were fine.
I learned that nursing you to sleep might be the start of a bad habit, but that time with you as an infant was so short and precious that it was worth the trade off.
I learned that babies cry because they need you, not because they are trying to control you. When I met your basic needs, you stopped crying. That was a good enough reason for me to “spoil” you by picking you up.
I learned that having the time and inclination for sex is much more difficult. Sometimes I just didn’t want to do it even though all the baby books had well meaning advice on how, why, what, when and where you should do it after you’re all healed up. I cut myself some slack in this department. After all, I wasn’t sleeping, my hormones were changing, and my priorities had vastly shifted. Keeping open communication with dad was key. It wasn’t him, it was me. Oh, sorry. I’m sure you didn’t want to hear that. I’ll keep it G rated from now
on. Just remember to cut your wife a bit of slack one day in the distant future.
I learned that you were quite portable and my life didn’t have to completely stop because of you. You went to an outdoor concert when you were two days old, a road trip to Chicago when you were two weeks old, and a plane ride to Vancouver when you were 5 weeks old.
I learned that some days the housework didn’t get done but I shouldn’t stress over it. There would be time for that later. I’m still using that excuse to this day. I’m not sure when “later” will get here. Maybe never.
Being a mom has taught me so much. It has taught me to seek the advice of my mother, ignore the old-fashioned advice of my grandmother, take what I read on the internet with a grain of salt, and most importantly, rely on my innate ability to mother you to the best of my abilities.
When you are a father, I will give you the advice that my father gave me. He got this advice from his mother, my grandmother. I guess not all of her advice was out-of-date. She told my father that a baby can survive on minimal amounts of food if necessary, but a baby can’t survive long without love and affection.
I will still read books in hopes I can glean a bit of helpful advice from them. I will still troll the internet to see what other mothers have to say. I will occasionally call up my mom to bounce an idea off of her. But rest assured, I will always love you.
About the author:
Lynae is a mom of three little darlings and has gained a little more wisdom with each child, but have lost a sliver of sanity each time. She no longer has any hobbies since her kids seem to occupy most of her time and energy, but she loves reading and enjoys writing as a creative outlet for her constantly running brain. She runs the blog Master of Mom.