I am so close I can almost taste it.
To having a baby with three (somewhat predictable) naps. A baby who can sometimes nap without being on me. A baby who can sit up on her own but can’t yet get away from me. A baby I can wear on my back, leave on her tummy for a minute, sit next to me on the carpet without needing a hand or an eye on her.
I’m looking forward to the day when her diet no longer relies exclusively on my boobs (just mostly). When her first tooth finally pushes through and there’s a break in snuffling, drooling misery.
I’m ready to stop hovering over her anxiously, checking for signs she’s breathing. I’m ready to fold laundry as she coos on the carpet, get dressed as she grabs her feet merrily in her crib, shower as she gnaws on a teether at my feet. I’m ready for her to sit at our dinner table in her own chair, leaving me blissfully hands-free.
I’m ready for the pause that comes right about now.
All babies are different of course. But now that I’m on my third baby, I know that this magical half-year mark is somewhat universal.
A wonderful thing happens about four to six months into your child’s life: They cross the threshold from tiny infant to baby. Just when it seems like one challenge will feed right into the next forever, like you will never figure out your baby’s patterns or needs, like they will always need every bit of your energy every moment of the day, like it will never, ever really get any easier, like you will just need to power through parenthood until it kills you, there is this tiny little break in the madness.
The naps start to take form. Baby learns to sit up. She starts to eat bananas and avocados, and maybe sip from a glass. She starts to trust you a little and can self-entertain for a few minutes. If she’s been a colicky, refluxy mess, that tends to abate a bit. Nursing finally settles a bit for both of you.
You look over at your partner and actually see him again for the first time in a long time. You look at yourself and remember you exist.
I know it won’t be all sunshine and roses. That I probably still won’t sleep an eight-hour stretch until she’s at least one (maybe older). That there are many miserable sleepless nights ahead of me, many inexplicable crying jags. Many, many more grueling and wonderful years of parenthood.
For now, I plan to relish every minute of rest before the next marathon begins. I know that I’ll have a running, climbing, grabbing, kicking toddler this summer–maybe even sooner. I need to be ready.
About the Author
Shawna Gamache is a former newspaper reporter and co-founder of the local blog Moms Alive. She is mama to Ruby, 3, Quinn, 5, and Nora, four months. In her quiet moments, Shawna loves writing, knitting and avoiding eye contact with her laundry pile.