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I've almost been at this parenting thing for three years. That's so crazy and hard to believe! I'm not sure where the time has gone because it has been the fastest three years!! Xander is now looking and talking like such a big boy, no longer a little toddler. I am excited that he can now dress himself (somewhat), feed himself with less mess (unless it's Spaghetti), and entertain himself for much longer periods. With that excitement comes sadness that he no longer needs me as much. I'm no longer his main squeeze. There is a new dog in town... daddy. Daddy has the cool toys and the cool voices that mommy just can't compete with. As much as I know he will always need his mommy, it still makes me a bit sad when he says "No weave alone mommy!" or "Daddy read story." But I still treasure little moments with him that make my heart go pitter patter. Like last night when Xander asked me "Mommy read me a story." Or when he asks me "Take my picture." and gives me the silliest, cheesiest smile. Then I remember that yes in fact he still needs his mommy. He will need his mommy when he walks through the doors into Kindergarten, when he goes off to the big scary high school, and when I drive away from him as he goes off to college. Ugh, just the thought of him leaving for college makes me tear up. I will be that crazy mom with the baby booties in her hand as I'm dropping him off at University of Some College. It is just going all too quickly. So advice I would give to any new mommy-to-be is....
1. Cherish the small moments because at the end of the day it doesn't matter if the laundry still needs to be folded or the dishes aren't done (I have a hard time with this one!). What matters most is those little hands and feet that need lots of hugs and kisses.
2. You can never EVER take too many pictures of your baby...sleeping, crying, nursing, laughing, smiling...document it ALL!
3. Make time for yourself and don't lose your passion. The first few months of having a newborn are a lot of work, it's true. You may not feel like doing much of anything but sleeping and feeding your baby. But once you get through that you start to feel nearly normal. I think it's important to do something for yourself, whatever that may be. If you can't seem to find your "pre-baby" self, start a new hobby. It is so hard to make time for yourself, but you will be a better mom if you do. Lately I have been staying up later to have some "me" time but that's okay. My body has adjusted to less sleep over the past three years. I like that I can still be creative through my knitting or blogging. It keeps my mind from going to mush.
4. Find new mommy friends that get you and get it. If you have a lot of friends who don't have kids they just don't understand what it's like to wake up three million times a night and still have to function the next day. Hang on to these friends, but don't except these friendships to remain the same. They will change, that's almost a guarantee.
5. Never pass up an oppurtunity to go on a date with your husband! If someone with a pulse offers to baby sit your kid take it. Ok, maybe someone with a little more than a pulse but seriously go out on a date when you can. Your marriage deserves it. Because when that little baby grows up and goes off to college you will be looking at each other asking, "Now what?".
As a country fan I have heard many songs about babies growing up that always make me tear up. (Yet another side effect of becoming a mom, crazy breakdowns over song lyrics!). Of course when the oppurtunity arises to quote them I come up blank. The one that does stand out in my mind is You're Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins. The song is written in the point of a dad to his daughter. The song starts off with the teenager wanting to be out of the house. Then she becomes a bride and starts talking about having babies. He says slow down, you're going to miss this (independence) when it's gone. In the last verse of the song it's five years later and in typical country fashion the dog is barking, the babies are crying, and the water heater is broken. The "girl" is apologizing to the plumber, because her house is a cluster F, but he says he's not bothered because he has two babies of his own, one's 36 and one's 23, it's hard to believe. Which pretty much sums it up. No matter who we are or where we have come from, parenting is the same. The early days are hard but special. It goes fast. You will miss this.
But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna miss this
Yeah, you're gonna miss this
- Trace Adkins, You're Gonna Miss this