I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Logan is going to be a 1-year-old on Saturday. Wow. Where did the time go? Sounds so cliché, but it seriously seems like just a couple months ago we were bringing him home from the hospital. Crazy that the reality is this time last year we had just celebrated my baby shower — now here we are, with an energetic, happy, and adventurous little boy.
I sometimes joke with Myles that the days can be long (especially the ones where Logan wakes up a ton during the night and refuses to nap the next day), but the months are zipping by. It’s been so much fun watching him hit each milestone, and being there to see him experience, well everything because it’s all new to him — from tasting different foods, to going down a slide, to feeding giraffes at the zoo. Sometimes I look at him playing with his toys in our living room, and I can’t believe that this little baby is mine. He really is a light in our lives and becoming a mom has been one of my greatest achievements.
Don’t get me wrong, parenthood is hard. There’s no sugarcoating that. But, the magic is in the little moments: like when I watch Logan and Myles from the kitchen window sitting out in the backyard playing. Or when Logan crawls over to me and plants a series of sloppy, wide-opened-mouth kisses on my cheek. In these little moments my heart swells with even more love for this tiny human, and I forget about the sleep deprivation, messy house, and million-and-one things on my to-do list that I still haven’t gotten around to.
Over these past 12 months, yes Logan has been growing and changing, but so have we. I don’t think we fully understood the depth of emotions and the physical and mental toll of having a child, until we became parents. You have an idea of course, but it’s not until you’re living it that you wholly gain that understanding. Here are 10 things we’ve learned over the past year — a mixture from both Myles and me.
1. Everything you want/need to do requires so much more planning than it did before. Whether it’s a big outing or trip, or something as simple as heading to the grocery store with your little one, you have to think about a million and one things as parents. Should we go before or after Logan’s nap? Should he eat first? We’ll definitely need to bring snacks just in case he gets hungry/has a melt down. Does he have diapers in his diaper bag? He hates the car seat, but I wonder if we can go to Target after Costco without him flipping out?
2. Every child is different, and that’s a good thing. There’s no way you can measure your child against other children, or even against how you were when you were growing up. If your little one starts walking at 8 months — bravo! If your baby weaned herself from breastfeeding before 12 months, and that’s what you wanted, then that’s excellent for you. Little Johnny started sleeping through the night at 6-weeks-old — I’m so excited for you (Logan at 1-years-old still wakes up multiple times throughout the night)! Each milestone is special and unique to your child alone, so put your blinders on because this is not a race. As excited as I am to see Logan walk on his own without the help of his toys, I’m cool with him taking his time.
3. I thought I knew what being exhausted was before becoming a parent. I was wrong. I knew what being mildly fatigued was, but exhausted, that term is reserved for parents and parents alone. The last 12 months of interrupted sleep and constantly feeling like a zombie throughout the day has proved that. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade this role for anything, but it definitely comes at a cost, and that cost is sleep and (sometimes) sanity.
4. You gotta be nimble. Plans change based on your little one in a heartbeat. You may have thought you were going to the gym at 7am this morning; you could put it on a calendar for the world to see, but if your baby is fussy or needs special attention, forget about it. This has been hard for me personally because I love a good schedule. Ravelle is more adaptable than I am, but I’m trying to get better at that. It’s also hard when I’m training for a triathlon because my ideal training schedule never, ever goes to plan, but that’s par for the course of being a dad.Good thing my triathlon isn’t for another seven months!
1. The love/hate relationship you have with breastfeeding. There are times when Logan will look up at me with his big brown eyes as he’s nursing and I think: “Look at my sweet baby, I just love him so much.” Then I have nights (like last week) where he literally wakes up every 90 minutes to 2 hours to nurse, and I can’t help but feel like a cow. My boobs are sore, and my mind will scream, “Give me back my boobs!”
2. There’s nothing like getting to experience the world through your child’s eyes. Growing up, the swing was always my favorite part of the park. Now, I get to share that with Logan. I love hearing that full-belly baby laugh as he whizzes through the air.
3. Your house is never (truly) clean, and actually neither are your clothes. Some weeks we’ve got a great handle on the toys that have taken over our living room, and then other weeks it looks like a tornado ran through the place. I’m trying to nail down the “clean one room a day mantra,” but that’s still a work in progress. And then there are your clothes. I think Logan secretly knows which outfits I’d like to not get dirty because those are the days he’s particularly anxious to get out of his high chair after eating a meal, ha. (Read: before I can properly get him cleaned up he’s got a hand covered in yogurt grabbing my shirt.)
4. The gamut of emotions you can have in a day. Last week was rough for us in that Logan was not sleeping well at all, he was constantly attached to my boob at night, and then skipping all of his naps. This went on for at least four days. By the fifth day I was beyond exhausted and Myles had to travel for work, so it was just Logan and me — thankfully he went down for a nap that morning, but it literally lasted 15 minutes. I had also lain down to get some rest, so when he woke up that quickly I just started crying. After the 5-minute emotional release, all the tension and exhaustion seemed to disappear and I was back to playing and laughing with Logan. I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I need is a good cry to set me back on track.
5. It’s a give and take. Some days I’ll pick up what feels like the brunt of everything that day, and it can get easy to direct those resulting frustrated feelings towards Myles. But then I remember the last few days when he picked up the slack without missing a beat when I was feeling under the weather.
6. We’re all just doing the best that we can. Sometimes your best is a fancy home-cooked dinner, complete with dessert, and sometimes it’s frozen pizza with veggie fries or pancakes that you throw some blueberries into the batter and voila: it’s a breakfast for dinner kind of night! I think it’s easy to be overly critical of the job we’re doing as parents, but as long as your baby is well-loved and cared for, then I’d say you’re way ahead of the game.