Year 1.

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It’s been a year. How the hell has it been a year?

It’s all a blur really. I don’t remember a time she wasn’t here. With each new phase she grows and thrives and does amazing new things, and it’s as if she could always do them.

Once, she was nothing more than a lump. Then she was a lump who could bat at a toy. Soon she could hold her head up on her tummy, then sit, and roll, and stand. Next she was a baby who had teeth, and then seven. She started making deliberate sounds. She started being deliberately disobedient. She eats with her hands in a way that appears she’s always known how to do it, yet just a few short months ago I was feeding her breastmilk on a spoon. She has opinions. She has comedic timing. She shows love, she shows fear, she shows anger. She’s endlessly curious. She’s physically strong, and energetic. She’s a baby, but more days than not, she is now a kid.

If I had a time machine, I’d go back to those early days. I’d get my do-over. I’d let myself relish the overwhelming joy I felt, and go through it all from a place of wisdom and zen. I’d be able to focus on the amazingness of a new human without all the panic and anxiety that comes from not having a clue what you’re doing. And though I can’t tell you the details of anything during that time, and can’t even remember the specific way something felt, good or bad, I feel wiser now.

 In no particular order, these are the things I’ve learned this year.
    1. You don’t always have to react. I spent so much time agonizing over the right thing to do – and inevitably whatever was happening would work itself out. Panicking does not help it improve faster.
    2. Find your village and don’t look back for the people who chose not to be there for you.
    3. Even when you find your kid to be the most amazing creature on earth and are offended when other people don’t seem to get that, you’ll still find other people’s kids annoying.
    4. No one’s baby sleeps. Babies are jerks.
    5. Breastfeeding is way harder than anyone will ever tell you. There’s nothing to prepare you for the scabs and blood and biting and tongue ties and poor latch and a sleepy baby who doesn’t want to eat and the internal battle you’ll have with yourself when you want to give up but can’t let go. It will destroy the confidence you thought you had.
    6. No matter how hard you want to be a French Mother, you will still end up with a kid who only eats bananas. I’m not ready to admit it is ok, but I may be ready to admit defeat.
    7. This really is the longest shortest time. Obsess over it. Treasure it. You don’t get it back.
    8. Each time your baby moves on to a new stage, it is both delightful and heartbreaking.
    9. When you’re sleeping upright on the couch with a baby on your chest you’ll never imagine that you’ll miss that moment. You will.
    10. Loving something this much is the best and the scariest thing in the world.