When Aiden was little, I really disliked being told Oh, this is the best time of your life! Young babies? Just soak it up and enjoy it all because it’s gone so fast! I mean, yes, it’s absolutely true- solid advice, really. It’s just that it was typically advice I received while standing in line at the drug store after work, holding an increasingly annoyed baby, strung out from interrupted sleep, with no less than 3 kinds of stains on my shirt and trying to buy breast pads before the baby-annoyance turned into actual crying. I have to admit, that's not my typical vision of “enjoyable.”
That everyone kept telling me it was supposed to be The Most Special Time Ever made me anxious. This? I thought. I must be missing out and it's apparently the best thing ever! I knew I should be savoring moments and locking memories away but that just felt like another thing on my To Do list. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Aiden’s babyhood, but it had this overarching theme of rushing it along; Just get through this day/week/month. I was waiting for the sleepless nights/exclusive nursing/diapers/etc to pass. So essentially waiting for the baby-ness to pass.
And everything IS easier now! So so much easier- we get a full nights sleep, he feeds himself, and entertains himself (sometimes), and uses the toilet himself and it’s amaaaaaazing. I appreciate all of those things literally daily but it also means he is by definition not a baby anymore and I'm suddenly extremely nostalgic. The chubby thighs, the cooing, the snuggly sleeping on your chest, the big quiet eyes, that they needed you; I want so badly to do it all over again.
Guys, the biological clock is for real.
When we had Aiden, I will admit we were not totally prepared. I mean we were in a practical sense; we had the car seat, the witty/adorable baby onesies, all the "necessities". But not so much in a mental sense. I guess most people aren't- how could you know what it’s like from just reading books or talking to your friends? But now we have our system and I know exactly which things I would do the same and which I would do differently, which parts I would savor and which I would gloss over. Now I have my strategy, so wasn’t that the practice run?
It's arguable that I wouldn't be feeling this way if Aiden's babyhood had been a little less rushed. You know how they say anticipation is the biggest part? If most people anticipate babies for years, we anticipated him for 7, maybe 8 months. And it didn't slow down after he came- life just kept coming with new jobs and states and houses and relationships. But having baby Aiden was also pretty amazing and practically I probably couldn't have squeezed any more enjoyment out of it. To say I (or anyone) could have is likely unattainable, just making parents feel unnecessarily guilty.
There are really great reasons for why we are not having another one (at least now, maybe ever). Going into those is probably for another time and place. And in addition, I don't believe most of the tired arguments against having just one:Then they can be friends. Er.. I'm not bringing a person into the world so he/she can be a companion for my son.
Single children are spoiled. The scientific evidence disagree with you.
Then they will have someone when your gone. Except what if they're not close- I know tons of adults who aren't close with their siblings.
None the less, leaving this life-stage sounds terrifying. Not to be dramatic (and I'm about to be extremely dramatic) but it feels like I'm moving one step closer to death. The first net-negative life stage change is kinda hard to embrace. But it really does makes sense to just have one, particularly for us and particularly now. So I'm trying to embrace the unknown, the scary and exciting possibility that anything could happen. And maybe that thing is nothing.