The First Year

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How do you put into words the first year?  Nearly impossible.

Heston’s pediatrician danced with me in her office as I said, “It’s not Happy Birthday, baby! But CONGRATULATIONS Mamma & Papa!” She vigorously agreed and added, “the banner should end with, ‘and we’re still married — sort of!'” #truth #preach

Right now our little monkey has 3 teeth, but according to his 1 year check up yesterday, he has FOUR more sprouting any second!  His weight is in the 64th percentile, his length the 57th percentile and his gigantic, watermelon head is in the 93rd percentile!  Ha, ha! But for a baby that was once ONE OUNCE away from being labeled “failure to thrive” (at 16 weeks old) this is basically a miracle.

I’ve never worked so hard at anything in my life.  I feel simultaneously proud, dismayed, and freaking tired.  My sister-in-law recently summarized and highlighted how different my approach to motherhood was than hers (and most others).  Even with (the aforementioned) crazy pregnancy stuff, I felt prepared for pregnancy.  I could research the crap out of it.  I “knew what to expect” thanks to many websites, books, blogs, and personal anecdotes.  But there was nothing that could prepare me for bringing home a baby, MY baby.

So the day that we came home from the hospital (with Heston still crying on the car ride home) we walked in the door, laid him on our bed, looked at him and just cried.  I cried such an overwhelming (and overwhelmed cry). And I have finally been able to give it words:

The stakes felt so high!  Too high.  Basically, if I mess this up, MY CHILD DIES.

I’ve never felt so helpless, inadequate and unprepared for anything in my life (and this from a woman who really prides herself on being able to be prepared for ANYTHING at nearly ANY time!)  No wonders my child had colic.  The level of stress and anxiety I felt was insurmountable.

After I tell my sister-in-law about this, she lets out a sympathetic chuckle and says, “Really?!  I didn’t feel anything like that!  I just looked around me and thought, if all these  yahoos can do this without messing it up, then I can too!”

That right there friends is an “a-ha” moment.

I like knowing that I am relatively self-aware.  I like embracing the fact that I know what I don’t know.  It’s given me a healthy respect for professionals, tradesmen, and basically anyone who has a job that I’ve not done — especially medical professionals. So when it came to babies, especially my baby, how in the world could I assume that I would just know what to do and that “meh, I’ll just figure it out as I go”?!  (This of course was just exacerbated by the fact that there was something indeed wrong with my child, something that several medical professionals overlooked and dismissed as me being a neurotic new mom.)

However, all that being said, I could take a pretty good lesson from my sister-in-law and let out a big ol’ “I got this!” and “I will figure this out and he’ll ultimately be fine.”

So now that I know (*hope*) I can keep him alive,  I’m supposed to figure out just how in the world to shape his brain so that he becomes a deeply empathetic, intelligent, well-rounded, non-serial killer person?! Good grief.

Any books I can read and research papers to explore are welcome to find their way into my inbox!

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