In the trenches of the first six months of Henry’s life, I’ve learned a couple things.I’ve learned that the solution for every single problem is to order more stuff on Amazon Prime. This won’t solve the problem, of course, but it will momentarily give you a feeling of Doing Something, and sometimes that brief feeling of Knowing What to Do helps you actually know what to do.
I’ve learned that my mom was right about everything. About the white clothes I loved that became impractical the second Henry started solid food, about the cute changing pad covers that are a nuisance, about the formula that Henry needed when he was fussy around 2 months and I was too stubborn to realize what he wanted.
I’ve learned that you can do so many things with one arm. You can go to the bathroom, put on make-up, vacuum the floor, cook dinner, and unload the dishwasher.
I’ve learned that any meal that requires 2 hands to cook just might not be a good idea for the couple months in between people bringing meals, and some element of sanity returning.
I’ve learned that the best way to get a reflux-y baby to have a burp spit to calm them down is to put on a clean shirt, as they will promptly spit up all over it.
I’ve learned that trying to have a “Where are we going in our lives” conversation at 4:30 am when the baby wakes you and your spouse up is a bad, bad, idea. Because no one is going anywhere good at 4:30 am.
I’ve learned that if the baby is in a snuggly mood, you should ALWAYS snuggle. Because otherwise you will lie in bed at night and ache for the snuggles you gave up because you had to “get something done.”
I’ve learned that a baby giggle can erase the memory of the baby scream that preceded it, and tiny moods change fast and erratically, but mine needs to be steady for us to get through the day.
I’ve learned that baby clothes that are complicated to get off just shouldn’t even get put on, and that comfort and ease often trumps style… for both of us.
I’ve learned that a walk outside can turn any bad day good. That fresh air and a coffee that you paid someone else to make can convince you that you have this mom thing down, even if you don’t, even if the only thing holding your hair-do together is spit-up, even if you and the baby have pajamas on under your coats.
I’ve learned that I might sleep train, and you might co-sleep; she might wean at 6 months, and she might nurse till three years, and she might give formula from day 1; she might make all her own organic baby food, and she might serve up Gerber pouches; she might go back to work after 6 weeks, and she might decide to stay home permanently; she might diffuse oils, and she might give Tylenol. And we are all just desperately trying to do the best we can for our babies, for our families, for our very souls.
And I’ve learned that it’s that trying, that dark-night-of-the-soul searching, that crying while the baby cries because you want so desperately to do the “right” thing but you have no clue what it is, that worrying and loving and feeling like your heart will explode because you love a tiny and perfect and infuriating little person so much – that’s what we all have in common. And it’s the most important thing.