Something interesting happens when you have a kid. I mean, obviously, MANY interesting (and a few boring) things happen when you have a kid. But one of these things is people - friends, family and mostly total strangers - start to engage in conversations with you about this child. Usually you go back and forth, reporting milestones and sprouting facts about size, lack of hair and level of development.
It's all fun and great until on occasion there will come a pause and then a question about if the child is crawling yet. Or walking yet. Or teething yet. Or throwing tantrums yet. Or off the bottle yet. Or weaned yet. Or waking up in the middle of the night again yet. Or hitting that 2/6/12/15.5/18 month regression yet. Or potty trained yet. Or a picky eater yet. Or some other crazy difficult thing that inevitably is going to happen and you're going to get through, possibly exhausted, but overall stronger.
When you calmly respond that "nope, not quite yet!" the person will shake their head, smile wisely and say slowly in the most terrifying voice, "Just you wait."
And then you're like, "wop, wop."
Here's the thing: I don't need or get to wait. It's all happening. It's all been happening since Paul and I looked at each other and asked "are you ready for a baby?" naively thought "YES!" and then eight months later, on a Saturday morning, found I was pregnant. We've been on this train for just a few years but we understand that it's a one way ticket. We're riding. We are thrilled to be moving forward. If this train stops I cannot fathom handling or processing that pain.
It's strange to me that we like to "warn" people about the normal progression of growth. Like it will somehow help me today to know that in seven months my tiny baby is going to throw her dinner on my rug, stop sleeping because she's teething or climb on my coffee table. (For the record, she did indeed do all of these things. So guess what? We removed the rug, we got up in the night and we repeatedly help her off the table.)
As a form of non-violent protest, I like to try the exact opposite approach when a friend has a baby or I'm chatting with a new mom. If (and only if) she's giving me that stressed-out, crazy-eye that I rocked for AT LEAST 9.5 months, I smile and tell her what I have learned...
"It just gets better. Every single day, it gets better."
If I had the chance and she wouldn't be weired out, I would sit her down, hand her a coffee/tea/cocktail and say this:
"You cannot rush nor hold on to this time; it is passing and that's okay. Someday your baby is going to sleep through the night. Someday your baby is going to run to you for a hug. Someday your baby is going to laugh at your jokes and hold your hand and cuddle your face and play with her toys and point out all the animals in his books. Someday your baby is going to have a favorite song and a favorite color and opinions about everything under the sun. Someday your baby is going to eat food that you didn't produce with your own body. Someday your baby is going to shock you with their tiny brilliance. Someday your baby is going to give you time to sit quietly by yourself. Someday your baby is going to allow you the space you need to feel like you. Someday your baby will be the thing that helps you feel like you. Every single day your baby is growing up, exactly as they should be."
"Just you wait, my sweet mama friend. You are doing an amazing job."
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