As a first time Mum to an exceptionally cheeky, adorably adventurous, kind-hearted soul and constantly surprising 3 year old, there have been things that I’ve had to say goodbye to along the way.
Some sad, and some… welcoming.
Night time wake-ups. Those are gone (though you can never be too sure with children). But I mean specifically, those night-time calls that can happen up to 4 times a night, and leave you trying to put a baby back to sleep for an hour each time, leaving you with all of 3 hours of sleep a night – if you’re lucky.
Feeding by hand… those are mostly gone. She eats on her own, and it’s just adorable that she waits patiently until her spoonful of cereal drips into the bowl before she takes a bite, or how she MUST have her hands clean as she eats something, wiping constantly with her scrunched up napkin between bites.
Teething. Crying, gnawing, drooling, irritability, restlessness.
So, so welcome!
And then there are things that I thought were welcome, but really, make me a little sad and nostalgic when I think of them.
Take breastfeeding for example. I devoted 13 months to it. Happily. Yet it was something I was looking forward to seeing the end of in some ways… but as the time drew closer, I felt myself getting sad, feeling like I was going to suddenly lose a tremendous bond with her. I weaned her slowly, and did such a good job that the day after the last feed, she didn’t react in any certain way of longing, and kept on with her solid foods and regular bottled milk.
I was quite emotional. I’ve developed bonds with her in other ways, but knowing that was the last time, at the time, was very hard for me.
Rocking her to sleep. This one quite literally broke my back. Then I discovered I could just as easily sit in a chair with her in my arms, and put her down once she was asleep. This made my life easier, and then only when I took it further, and sat next to her as she fell asleep, did I realise how beautiful it was to hold her in my arms AT ALL.
This made me a little sad.
Nightmares. Having her cry in such sadness in the middle of the night, for no reason other than she needed me, made me feel like ‘oh geez, again.’ It didn’t happen too much, but it did seem to happen as her night time wake-ups grew less frequent, which actually made me start to cherish these nightmares, as horrible as they were for her. I’d sit in the big chair in her room and envelope her in a big hug, and hold her tight as she fell asleep, feeling so blessed and loved and lucky that I was the one she wanted, the one she needed, the one who could soothe her fears.
They stopped, and I kind of miss them.
She used to sit on my lap while she drank her bottled milk. But she grew independent and able to hold the cup on her own, and then discovered she could be a ‘big girl’ and sit beside me.
When she realised that, I saw that I was losing yet another thing. I tried to encourage her on my lap a few times more, but she had found freedom on the couch. That made me sad.
Lately though, we’ve been mucking around in a different way. Sometimes she will deliberately lie across my lap, wanting me to rock her back and forth like a baby, with my sing-song “na na, na na,” as if I’m putting her to sleep. I ask if she’s my baby, and she nods, smiling. I cuddle and kiss her like this, cherishing the fact that she wants to lie on my lap at all and be devoured by my kisses.
However surprisingly, she’s taken it a step further in the last week. During our bedtime read, she’s decided to sit on my lap while we read her book, instead of being beside me. She gets up, taking her book with her, and then gets comfortable on my lap before nuzzling her head against my neck, to which I heap kisses and hugs all over her.
I’ll take all the kisses, and I’ll take all the hugs. When I think of what I thought I lost, I grow very appreciative, and realise that I haven’t lost anything at all.
Besides her, I’m always winning.