I washed Susannah’s pull-up in her load of laundry tonight. As I stood cleaning out those gummy little pellets that make up the inside of diapers, I was immediately transported back in time to a small, bungalow style home which was charming and in the “in-vogue” part of town for young-marrieds and young-marrieds-with-one-new- baby crowd. The year was 2005. It was a cold winter evening and I distinctly remember my feet feeling like frozen blocks of ice as I changed my screaming, colicky newborn’s diaper. For the life of me, I could not figure out what these disgusting pellets that were clinging to her little heinie were until, in the morning light, I discovered they were coming from INSIDE her diaper. Her diaper was dissolving as she wore it through the night.
Irrate, I summoned JJ to “come and look at this.” We lamented about the cheapness of Pampers. Obviously, this was just not a well-made diaper. JJ immediately called the 800 number (I know…as I write this I just want to say “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!) and told the customer service agent about the horrible, gummy pellets clinging to Susannah’s tushie. The kind rep ever so gently told us we needed to go up a diaper size during the night. Oh.
It makes me giggle to think how “green” we were. We literally had no idea what on earth we were doing. Truthfully, I still don’t but I have a little bit more confidence now that I have had three chillens – I now know that they are not going to break and they will survive your sometimes shaky care. But if we all want to be totally real here, I must admit there is a place in my heart that longs for the innocence of that new chapter that was just beginning five short years ago. Though sleep-deprived and snappy at each other because of it, JJ and I had created a beautiful little life together. If I had ever doubted my faith, once I laid my eyes on her, I just knew. I simply just knew. What a miracle we all are. And it’s so much deeper than “just science”.
I remember feeling so overwhelmed and clinging to every parenting type of book I could get my hands on. I read The Baby Whisperer. I read Happiest Baby on the Block. I read Baby Wise. I read so many titles that I eventually realized they all contradicted themselves and spun myself into a deeper web of confusion than where I was before. Do I let her cry it out yet or is she too young? Do we keep changing formulas or allow her system to settle? Do we ever get to sleep again?
But, yet. Yet. I still miss that sweet time.
I miss the complete rapture we felt when she did any little thing. We watched her every move and would elbow each other whenever she did something cute or funny. “Watch her dance” JJ would whisper to me as the Miffy theme song played in the background. “Look at her loving on Ellie” I would point out to him as she hugged our one- year-old lab puppy (yes, we were crazy and still are for that matter…) Feeding the ducks was pure joy. So was a simple walk in our trendy neighborhood or a trip for her first taste of ice cream.
It isn’t that the joy was not felt with my other two babies because it was and is. It’s just different the first time around. This doesn’t make the first one “the favorite” it just means that we were all new together. A true and real bond had been established. No one under our bungalow roof had any idea what was happening and what to do about anything. We were all in it together. Sink or swim, we were in it, baby. Literally.
Susannah continues to survive us and secretly, because she is the oldest, we do still marvel over all of the firsts she is paving for her younger brothers. Most notably, she is about to turn five and I can hardly type these words. I am not so sure why on earth the fact that she is turning five is so hard on me but it is. Five sounds so much older than four. And, of course, there is the fact that she will be off to Kindergarten in the fall. My sweet baby, who was just born last week (!), will be going to Kindergarten.
This tough little cookie made it through the five different formulas we tried to soothe her colicky tummy. On that note, she survived a myriad of different bottle types as I was convinced, with all of my parenting experience, that it must be the bottles. She made it through the Gymboree classes I enrolled us in when she was three months old (Seriously? What on earth was I thinking?). She made it through her first ear infection when we sat, white with fear and willing to do ANYTHING to ease the pain of our sweet angel, in the ER at 11 p.m. She survived a move to another city, she lived through potty training, and she has endured almost all the way through preschool.
Baby girl, please don’t go yet. I am so not ready to let you spread those wings we have been helping you to grow. But yet. Yet. I know it’s getting to be that time. You’ve already started to lose interest in princesses, “Jack’s Big Music Show” doesn’t entertain you in the way it once did and you have deemed some things in our home as “baby toys”. Though you have at least 13 more years with us under this roof, the journey starts soon. But as I tell you everyday, it doesn’t matter how old you are. You Will. Always Be. My Baby.