Half. A. Year. I have raised a baby for half a year. Previous to this, I have had no experience nannying, babysitting, and the last time I held a baby was when I was about 18/19 years old. I think a little bit of the inspiration to write this blog throughout Zara’s first months of her life comes from my complete lack of knowledge surrounding motherhood. We constantly see moms in movies or on TV just completely having their shit together. I think of Rachel from Friends who made having and raising a kid look absolutely sexy (maybe it was just Jennifer Aniston, but I digress). There are no portrayals of walking out of the house with a leaky boob, going a day without brushing your teeth or remembering to put deodorant on, or literally never changing out of your pjs for like 5 (ok 7) days. I am even guilty of posting the great times I have with Zara, so just for that I will make this blog’s picture a picture of Zara crying because her teeth hurt, which pretty much sums up months 4 and half of 5.
Months 4 and 5 ALMOST took me. Milestones that happened in months 4 and 5: major growth spurt, teething, I received my hospital bill, I realized that I might not be able to finish my summer classes, and nobody took naps. They say that babies get cranky/frustrated when they are on the verge of figuring a new skill out. LET ME TELL YOU: months 4 and 5 had a lot of frustration and then the last week of month 5 it was like BAM! I can roll on my belly! BAM! I can walk around in my walker and try to touch the outlets! BAM! I can eat! BAM! I have two teeth! Two months of a cranky baby turns into one week of milestone after milestone after milestone.
It is really hard to describe the rollercoaster of emotions that I have faced over the past months, but I’ll try. As a mom, I feel guilt, worry, anger (yes, at my own child), and loneliness usually all in one day. Am I spending enough time with my baby? But also – am I giving my baby enough time by herself to figure out her own problems (right – what problems do you have as a 4 month old who cries and then gets food??), did I let her cry too much today? Did I coddle her too much today? Did I seem too frustrated with her today? AND the one that gets me the most: Man, I counted down the hours to her bedtime STARTING AT 9AM! I must be a bad mom. Some days I wish I had a counterpart who was equally as invested in successfully raising a kid as I am, and some days I love getting into my bed alone. Some days I look back and say damn I mommed really amazingly today, and some days I look back and realize I spent the whole day stressed and tired and angry.
Which brings me to the main emotion of the past month and a half: anger. It wasn’t a healthy month emotionally because so many things made me angry. My hospital bill, the fact that two people created Zara and only one person has to bear the entire emotional and financial responsibility (and the system that allows this to happen). Anger at people who feel me having a child in a non-traditional way suddenly becomes my entire identity. Anger that I am supposed to function while running off four hours of sleep – if I am lucky. Anger that I feel like I am on a hamster wheel except I am under the wheel and it is hitting me as it goes around. This isn’t to say my anger was rational but it’s what I felt. This post was not written to say that I wish I had it any other way (I mean $1,000,000 would be wonderful), but I want you to know that the past couple months I have discovered that motherhood is not like Friends or Baby Mama.
The hard days have brought some amazing days and hilarious stories. I have gotten to witness a human realizing they can do things for the first time. It’s some cool stuff. For example, Zara is not easy to make laugh; she makes you work for it. So after hours of trying, I started singing Arabian Nights, and it turns out she thinks it’s hilarious. Also, I wish I had a video of Zara in her bouncy chair and my dad and his sister jumping up and down in front of it to try to get her to bounce higher. Another milestone – no more gum smiles! This gal has two teeth! (another milestone – discovering infant Tylenol is a liquid form of Jesus!) I am in love with the goofy teeth smile now.
I think the funniest thing that has happened was when I heard Zara making noise from her bed after a nap and I look into the monitor which has a video component (oooo fancy I know!) and it is Zara’s mouth and tongue all over the screen. This girl literally eats any and everything that she can get her hands on (and I know she’s my kid because she cannot get enough of the coffee mugs). I also love the way our 3 LARGE dogs (who are crazy and loud) don’t even phase her – she thinks they are there as an audience for her to entertain. I love how she sits on Hannah’s shoulders and dies laughing because she is taller than everyone else. She is really close to sitting and I accidentally let her face plant because I thought it would be a good idea that she learns how to handle pain and falling over – yeah, some babies can’t figure out how to get out of a face plant situation without help (oops LOL).
Zara has met so many people, mostly my family, in the past few months and she just might be one of the most loved human beings on the planet (she definitely knows it too, because she has demanded more than a little love and attention once they all left, let me tell you. I have to humble her down soon). My family fights over who gets to hold Zara, who gets to hug Zara, who Zara was smiling or laughing at – this kid has us wrapped around her tiny little chubby fingers. It is, again, hard to describe, but I have never loved anyone or anything as much as I do Zara. I better not have any more kids because Zara is my favorite.