A couple weeks ago Laurel stopped taking a pacifier at bedtime. What we once thought we’d have to pry away from her in toddlerhood, she was now refusing with stubborn resolve. After a few nights of struggling to do our routine of pacifier, white noise, swaddling and rocking at bed time, I gave up and started nursing her to sleep. I didn’t want sleep to be a struggle. Eventually, for my comfort and the ease of moving her into the cosleeper after she fell asleep, we moved the whole thing into our bedroom.
We thought we’d be prying this from her tiny little clenched fists
Lying next to her in our bed tonight, doing my best to avoid looking at my phone for the millionth time (really, that Facebook update is not that important), I focused on my breathing. As a new parent, I’m always complaining that I don’t have enough – sleep, space, time…specifically quiet time. But here I am, presented with a quiet room, just the two of us occupying the bed, and I’m focused more on getting out of there. To do what exactly? Dishes, picking up, maybe some work, watching TV. Those things, to an extent, are important, but so is that moment.
I used to dream of having a baby and now here it is. This time, when she is requires so much of my attention, is fleeting. It’s just a drop in the bucket of her (hopefully) very long life. Every day, I get to see the world through her eyes. I recognize when she sees something for the first time. I notice when she picks up a new skill or makes a new sound. Granted, sometimes I barely register these things through the filter of my own very bleary eyes, but I still get to experience the world with a fresh perspective.
This idea has been expressed a million times over, yet somehow we still need reminding. I will never have another first baby. That box has been checked. The next time, assuming there is one, won’t be the same. There will always be a comparison. And, more likely, there will never be this much quiet, one-on-one time again.
It’s frustrating, for sure. It seems as soon as you learn a routine, it becomes obsolete and it’s time to learn a new one. But these are the good days. I know one day I’ll look back and wonder how we ever got through, but also wonder if I appreciated it enough. In retrospect, can we ever appreciate something as much as we should while it’s happening? I don’t know. I think back on our travels and wonder if we did enough. And there’s that word again – enough. As I lay there, night after night, watching my sweet baby nurse and fall into a peaceful sleep, I’ll just let it be enough for tonight.