I've mentioned this before, but I spent the first month or so of my daughter's life waiting (sometimes not so patiently) for her to grow up. Not that I didn't love her immensely, and enjoy her sweet newborn smell and warm cuddles, but still, those first few weeks were draining as much as they were joyful. I know it was partially due to how having a baby instantly changed my entire life, down to the fundamentals. My sleep/eating/exercise patterns were turned upside down, every single relationship I have was suddenly different (all for the better though, I see that now), and my 24/7 was dedicated to caring for this little being who, I felt, didn't know me from Eve. Whatever love and affection she felt for me was based solely on the fact that I was the provider of milk. I didn't take this personally at all, and it was never particularly upsetting to me, but I was still waiting anxiously for the day when she would seem like a real person to me, instead of a purely instinctual little creature.
|The first time she opened her eyes, she looked right at me.|
By following her cues, I've learned how to interact with her too. I take her to all her favorite walls in the house and describe what she sees (she likes it when we stand by the bookshelf and I read her the titles). When I lay down with her on her play mat, her eyes will wander and her limbs flail until her gaze finds mine; then she breaks out into the biggest grin and excitedly gurgles at me. I inquire about her day, or tell her little stories, occasionally pausing so she can offer an opinion. It's silly, and so much fun.
Yesterday, we stood by the mirrored closet, and she smiled and conversed with the "other" baby she found there.
Though I am fully, wholeheartedly enjoying this stage of her development, I have discovered another problem. See, now that the initial sleepy newborn stage has passed, I am absolutely staggered by how fast these milestones are piling up. She batted at toys on her play mat this morning, and grasps toys when I place them in her hand. Pretty soon she'll be grabbing for them on her own, and rolling over and babbling and crawling and walking and OMG. It's exciting and scary and.... a little bit sad. See, I only have about 8 more weeks at home with her before I have to go back to work. Suddenly it will be other family members, and eventually daycare workers, who will be with her every day. For five days a week, I won't be there for her happy waking up time or morning naps. There are milestones I might miss, because I just won't be there. I get teary just thinking about it.
I know I'm lucky to be able to take so much time away from work - I won't be going back until Amaliya is almost 4 months old. I'm also fortunate that my mother-in-law will be staying with us into January, so I don't have to ship my baby off to daycare right away. Instead of mourning the lost time before I actually lose it, I am trying my best to live in the moment and make the most of every smile, fuss, diaper change, nap on my chest, long walk, and 3am feeding. I really will miss them when they're gone.