Posted by Duff

My brother, who has always been wise and had a patient perspective that has had many wondering if he actually has a pulse, said the following to me with his typical Steven Wright enthusiasm:

“You won’t always be the mother of young children.”

It’s amazing what fourteen more months experience can do for someone. I advise everyone to find someone fourteen months ahead of you in parenting, and beg that person to be your sponsor. They are close enough to remember what it feels like, far enough away to have gotten over it (‘it’ being the parenting issue of the moment).

If you don’t believe my brother, as I didn’t, here’s an exercise:

Take your child’s age, in months (24). Cut those months in half (12). Now, before you read further, go back and look at a picture of your child at the halved age. I’ll wait right here.

Now look at your child today, who has better things to do at this very moment than worry about the passage of time. 

It’s no secret that I’m not, based on my single experience thus far, the biggest fan of the infant stage. I love me some toddlerhood, and I can already predict that preschool age will be even better (as my brother also forecasted). I didn’t say easier.

So how can I look at pictures of even the toughest stages with aching ovaries? (If I have likewise re-inspired the dormant baby fever in you with this excercise, please comment below).

It makes no sense to me. I am exhausted, because the Dervish never stops. Uppy. I get down. On my lap. Off. On again. No, off. Outside. Downstairs! That way! C’mon!

Three days will pass, and suddenly, the Dervish has beanstalk legs. Where is my baby?  She is someone else altogether now – an entire girl. And the blueprint for her upcoming years is already under contruction.

The other day, she and I were sitting on the couch together. I asked for a snuggle, and she rebuffed me. She had arranged herself in such a way that I could see her as a tween, bored with me, drinking fluorescent beverages, her commentary more repetitions of ‘like’ than substance.  At this moment, I am a mere hint of the embarrassment I am destined to become.

I’m transported back to her 4-month sleep regression. I am spent. I am frustrated. I just want her to sleep so I can. But she is warm and cuddly in pink fleece feety pajamas, and she clings to me like a little monkey. When she drifts off to sleep, I find it hard to put her back in her crib, and stay awake just a little longer to breathe this in, because I remember my brother’s mantra. And in that moment, I am as happy as I am sad.

Have I mentioned that he, my older brother, was a surprise baby and had horrific colic? I am proof that our mother must have had her own feety pajamas recollection. And obviously, she is no longer a mother of young children.

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