First published on NPR's Baby Project
It's so hard to believe that Finn has only been a part of our lives for a little over 8 weeks, and even harder to believe it's been 8 weeks already! I sometimes find it impossible to remember what I did with my days before he was born — but then I catch myself strategizing how to put him down for a second, just to do the dishes or run the vacuum.
During these past 8 weeks, I feel like we've learned the basics of what it takes to be a parent — and then relearned them all again as things change over and over. And that what worked yesterday is not going to work tomorrow (that was Lesson Numero Uno). I've also learned just how little sleep I can survive on, what a kick-ass partner I have, and that I just shouldn't count how many bodily fluids I have gotten on myself in any given day.
I've learned the Happiest Baby 5 S's, how to swaddle with the best of them, exactly how long Finn will tolerate the Moby Wrap, and how to do almost everything while holding a screaming or nursing baby.
I've learned something from every woman on this blog, as well as those who have taken the time to leave comments. I read every single comment on my colic postand tried most of the suggestions (which is just about the time I learned Lesson Numero Uno).
I've learned how little sleep I can function on, where my breaking point is, and how to be gentle with myself when I've reached it. I've learned that I had no idea how fiercely I could love until I met Finn.
I've learned to forgive myself and Chad for not having all the answers, and I've learned to listen to others when they might have an answer that works.
I've learned that it drives me CRAZY when people smile or laugh when they hear Finn crying, but that I totally do the same thing with other people's children. I've learned that I am a walking, talking contradiction every day, and dread the day when Finn realizes and calls me on it.
I've learned that I'm not perfect, that I can be resentful, and that sometimes I wish I could just go for a bike ride or spend a few minutes alone without advanced planning. But I know, I KNOW that this will all be worth it.
I've learned how to look forward to every single day that I get to spend with this little miracle, and I've learned to remind myself to cherish every moment, though I know I won't.
Finally, I've learned how much I like writing about this experience, and how taking the time to reflect on what's going on helps to put it all into perspective. I've realized how much I look forward to sitting down and writing, no matter how little time I have, and how I compose when I'm nursing at 3 a.m. or walking the dog. I've realized that I have a lot to say, and whether or not it's on a nationally publicized blog, I want to keep doing it ...
... so I created a blog, Growing up Vinalhaven. I hope I can stay as true to it as I have to this one — I have not been the most consistent blogger in the past. Either way, this has been one hell of a trip, and I'm grateful to NPR, to the blog hosts, to the other moms, and to the readership who has been so supportive. It's been a pleasure to have been a part of the Baby Project.