Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I Need to Stop Wishing Time Away

I Need to Stop Wishing Time Away - I Am Little K by Katarina Kovacevic
Velcro to hold her tiny baby "sunglasses" in place
Te had a pretty stubborn case of jaundice when she was first born. She was born early on a Sunday morning and we brought her home late Wednesday night.

Our time in the hospital was measured by 3-hour increments. She'd sleep under the phototherapy lights for a while, then the nurses would bring her back into our room for a feed and quick cuddle before whisking her away again. Those quiet moments in the hospital when it was just the 3 of us passed all too quickly.

All I remember thinking then is how I couldn't wait to be out of the hospital and home with my baby. I wasn't concerned about my recovery, didn't really care about visitors and only slept for a few fitful spurts. I just wanted to get out of there. The days ticked by.

I should have been sleeping.

Dear sweet jebus, if I knew what was waiting for me...I would have listened to my mom and the doctors and kicked back in that hospital bed with the TV and napped LIKE. A. CHAMP-I-ON. Hindsight, right?

I Need to Stop Wishing Time Away - I Am Little K by Katarina Kovacevic
Te (like most newborns) nursed what seemed like round-the-clock for those first several weeks. My wardrobe consisted of stretchy pants, the My Brest Friend pillow and little else. When she wasn't latched, she was snuggled up like a little tree monkey on me or Stjepan. This phase of 24/7 attachment seemed to last forever.

Now I look back at the newborn phase with an ache in my belly and an all-consuming nostalgia. Quiet cuddle sessions are a rarity these days. About 90 percent of the time, she'd rather be rolling on the floor, bouncing in her baby seat or swatting at water that flows from the kitchen faucet.

Did I cuddle her enough when she was teeny-tiny? Did I sneak enough sniffs of her teeny-tiny newborn smell? Did I kiss her teeny-tiny newborn head as much as I should have?!

These are the thoughts that run through my head as I pack up her 0-3 months clothes and newborn bottles today. I'm washing baby forks and spoons and bowls in preparation for our starting cereal next week. She'll be 5 months tomorrow!

When I look back at the almost half-year that's gone by, I don't really remember much of the tough moments (OK, only the really tough ones). I remember miniature diapers and quiet baby coos. I remember the first time she really made eye contact with me and her first smile.

I remember how she used to just stare quietly at the ceiling fan for several minutes when she'd first wake up in the morning, next to our bed in her tiny bassinet. Now she whirls all over her crib like a caffeinated roly-poly.

I'm sure I sound lame being so nostalgic when she's only 5 months.

But I'm recording this as a reminder for myself. Take note, self: Stop wishing time away.

Stop waiting for those frustrating phases to pass. Because when they're gone, a phase that you love will be, too. Life isn't always about the picture-perfect moments. Life is what happens during, after and between the diaper blowouts and the runny noses and the teething. Cuddle sessions will come less on slow Sunday mornings and more when she's having a rough night or when she's not feeling well.

Instead of stressing, I'll try and learn to just accept the moment for what it is. I'll try to find the humor, grace and love in that phase.

I'll try.

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