But in the 10 minutes or so that it will take her Daddy to put her to bed, for her to wake up crying, for him to shush at her for a few seconds, for her to ignore him, and for him to bring her back downstairs to me with a shrug and a "She wants her Mommy", I'll try to relate some of the things this new motherhood deal has taught me.
For instance, I have learned that:
- She changes every day. Every morning I wake up and she's longer, heavier, and her face has changed a little. It blows me away. I can almost sit and literally watch her grow right before my eyes. She looks totally different than she did when she was born, or when she was a month old, or even from what she looked like last week. Clothes that fit 3 days ago don't anymore. Of course, she becomes more beautiful by the day, so all this changing is nice, but still...it shocks me how quickly she grows. Do all babies do this? I never noticed before.
- Babies have no concept of time. Come to think of it, no patience either. The bottle warmer takes exactly 90 seconds to heat up her 3am bottle of milk. You wouldn't think 90 seconds would be that long. But to her, there's only RIGHT NOW, and the bottle is not here RIGHT NOW, despite you saying, "Seriously, just 20 more seconds! Enough with the screaming already!" Seconds mean absolutely nothing to her. The world is ending! The world is ending! The world is-oh hey, the bottle's ready. Cool.
- In a similar vein, she can also go from happy to screaming like someone has amputated both legs in nothing flat. There doesn't seem to be any in between with her. No sniffling, or trembling lip, or cranky warning noises. It's happy smiling (or sleeping) to tortured screams in an instant. Then, just as mysteriously, she's back to being fine again, and you're just left standing there going, "what the heck was THAT?" Tony and I have actually taken to calling these sudden little fits her alter ego, which goes by the name Fussy McFussypants. Thankfully, these visits by Fussy McF are few and relatively short lived, but they're still enough to send your poor nerves reeling if you aren't expecting it. (I know, I know, the same mad crying means I'm hungry, I need a diaper change, I'm tired, I'm bored, my tummy hurts or I just want to be held. Then as soon as she sends the message, she's back to being a happy camper. I will be so glad when she's able to add a few more tricks to her bag of ways to communicate.)
- Also? She melts my heart. She has just learned to smile back at me in the last week or so, and every time I walk into her field of vision and she smiles at me, it's like I float three feet off the ground. I am totally addicted to it. I would walk for days, wrestle mountain lions, and leap tall buildings in a single bound for one of those smiles. As it is, I am giving up sleep, changing poopie diapers and completely foregoing chocolate (which apparently I have an unhealthy devotion to since I can't stop thinking about it, and yet it gets into the breastmilk and gives her a gassy tummy, so it's off the menu for the time being). And the crazy thing is I'm happy to do it for her! It's baby mind control, and I don't mind a bit. (Well, except maybe a little for the chocolate).
- Tony has learned that he REALLY REALLY hates getting up to give her the 3am bottle. He's tired, he's cranky, he's annoyed that I'm still laying in bed even though I get up for EVERY OTHER FEEDING while he sleeps. But still, he does it. Every night. Because he's still dependable, even when sleep deprived. But oh how she has him wrapped around her tiny baby finger! He comes home every day at lunch so he can see her. And you should have seen them reading a story together last night on the couch. I'm not sure who enjoyed it more. So he may really hate 3am, but he's absolutely crazy about that little girl.
- Finally, I've learned it isn't about me anymore. For instance, today she spit up all down the front of my top. (I know...gross, right?) Gallons and gallons of spit-up right over the burp cloth (I'm still not sure how she managed to get around it), hang a left around my collarbone and right down the front of my shirt. Now before, I probably would have ripped the shirt off, run screaming from the room, and spent the next 30 minutes scrubbing off the top four layers of skin in the shower. But now? It didn't even register. Because she needed a bath, and she needed a change, and she needed to finish her lunch, and there just wasn't space in my brain to give it any more thought other than to stuff a paper towel down my front and keep on going. (I did remember it hours later when I stripped off the shirt and found the paper towel still stuck in my bra).
So yeah. This motherhood thing is kinda like being in a cult. I used to think it was a little obnoxious the way parents would go on and on and on about their children, but I totally get it now. They can't help it. I see the whole world through baby-tinted glasses. My life (right now at least) revolves around this little person. A tiny, demanding, wonderful little person. And right now, I'm okay with that. I'm totally drinking the koolaid.