Babies are cute. They’re absolutely adorable. Even their tiny, newborn mewling cries are sweet.
And then they come home with you from the hospital. And amid glorious moments of discovery and learning and, well, general cuteness (of which there are many), the other stuff happens. It’s the stuff they don’t show on TV. It’s the side of having and infant that isn’t so much fun.
Mommynesia never struck me. I remember every detail of pregnancy, childbirth, and The Boy’s first few years. My pregnancy, aside from feeling bloated and fat, was great. Childbirth was even fine. But those first years?
My sister-in-law posted the following on her Facebook page at roughly 2AM today:
I am exhausted. E is teething again and I haven’t made it to bed yet. 😦
My knee-jerk response was the same one my sister gave me when I called her one morning, exhausted and frustrated to the point of tears: “Oh, yeah; I don’t miss that.”
Here’s something funny that no one tells you before you have a child: Teething goes on forever. It seems like forever, anyway, and it may as well be, because just when one tooth finally erupts and you think it’s all over, it picks up where it left off the following week.
I was lucky. The Boy actually gave us more of a reprieve than my sister-in-law is getting with her daughter. Mind you, by the time The Boy was his cousin’s age, he had 14 teeth (I think E only has 6), and two more teeth were on the verge of coming up. After those last two came in and he had a full mouth of 16 teeth, we were in the clear until he was about 22 months old and the second-year molars started to grow.
But he also started teething when he wasn’t even five months old yet, and five months to fourteen months was a long time to go without sleep. The coffee machine at work became my best friend for a while there.
I also don’t miss the seemingly incessant crying that came with teething. The Boy really didn’t cry a whole lot, generally speaking. When he cried, it was because he needed something, and since Cute Husband and I were pretty good at figuring out what he needed and tended to him right away, there wasn’t much crying. But when he was sick or teething (especially teething), it was a nightmare.
I still wonder how we all survived it.
Here’s something else I don’t miss: stomach bugs. The Boy had his first stomach bug when he was just eight months old. Oh, that was joyous. I don’t even need to reread old blog posts to recall that first bug. I still remember the looks of horror the nurses at the doctors’ office gave me when I walked in from the rain with a very cold, nearly-naked (because he had thrown up on all of his clothes at school, including the multiple backup sets, waiting for me to pick him up), and obviously very sick Baby C who (unbeknownst to me) had vomited all over the back of my hoodie. I remember running to the restroom at work the next day after lunch so that I could bring it all back up (the first time I had vomited since I was 8 years old!), popping into my boss’s office to let her know that I had just puked, and rushing home hoping against hope that I would make it home without needing to pull over to vomit some more. And I know Cute Husband remembers visiting the tiny airplane bathroom 30,000 feet in the air when the three of us were flying to Kentucky a few days later so that he could throw up. My poor mother-in-law caught the same stomach bug, too, that weekend while we visited; I highly doubt she’s forgotten about it.
I don’t miss introducing new foods and checking The Boy every 30 seconds for signs of a food allergy. We’re still introducing new foods as we let The Boy try different things from time to time, but it’s so much better when I can ask him if his tongue is itchy after eating pecans instead of searching for spots on a wiggly child or waiting for him to vomit or fill his diaper with diarrhea. Or both. The Scrambled Egg Incident has not been forgotten.
And I don’t miss diapers. I don’t miss potty training, either. I especially don’t miss the copious amounts of diarrhea that accompanied stomach bugs and food allergies. I like that The Boy can go to the restroom by himself. I like that he still gets excited because he can reach the sink by himself to wash his hands. And one day, I won’t miss having to wash his bottom after he goes poop.
I don’t miss hauling pounds and pounds of baby gear wherever we went. We developed a system so that a trip to the Mouse House (as The Boy once called the Magic Kingdom) wasn’t a huge production, but even then, we still had the stroller and a loaded diaper bag to carry, complete with changes of clothes, diapers, food, toys, blankets, and anything else that we might (but usually didn’t) need.
I don’t miss the sleepless nights. I don’t miss getting up every two hours to feed or change or play with The Boy. I don’t miss feeling like a zombie.
But I’ll admit that there are some things I do miss as my little one becomes a not-so-little man.
I miss his new-baby smell. I can get a similar scent if I smell him right after he gets out of the bath, but it’s not the same. Now, when he comes home from school after running around on the playground, it’s not such a pleasant scent.
I miss the tiny clothes. I don’t miss that he cycled through as many as seven outfits in a day, or that there were diapers under the tiny clothes, or that those tiny clothes were pretty expensive if you measured it by the amount of fabric used, but I do miss some of the little clothing. But as much as I say that there are little outfits I was sad to see him outgrow, I’ll admit that I like getting him big kid clothes (that he doesn’t outgrow in 2-month stretches) much better.
And I miss cuddling my sweet tiny baby. Mind, The Boy has promised that he will still want to cuddle me even when he’s a really big kid, but there was something very sweet about having that little bundled up baby asleep on my chest. Add to that the sweet new baby smell, and it was bliss.
Overall, though, I’m good with just The Boy. When I dropped The Boy off at day care this morning, Mr. C asked if Cute Husband and I planned on having another. I smiled and told him I’m happy with just the one. He talks, he walks, he goes potty by himself, he dresses himself, he feeds himself, and he can find ways to entertain himself. Moreover, we have two-way conversations now. I’m spoiled by his independence, and it’s pretty awesome.
I love the idea of another child. Another pregnancy? No problem. Childbirth? Easy peasy. But going through infancy and toddlerhood again?
I don’t think I have the
sanity energy strength.