A Newborn's Love
From the moment he was born, my son was the most precious thing in the world to me. He captivated myself and my husband in ways i couldn't imagine. From his simple stares at something that seemed so unimportant to us, or the way he would chow down on a bottle in minutes when he was hungry, to even his loudest cries in the middle of the night, i couldn't stop loving this little human we had created. He had some health issues that scared us half to death, yet we knew, he needed us, and the way he cherished our cuddles, made our hearts absolutely soar. But what they don't tell you, is how fast a baby grows from being a newborn, to an infant. Yes they still need you, but they are no longer so dependent, no longer that baby that clung to you to keep them safe, no longer that baby that desired your presence or smell just to help them fall asleep. They grow in what seems like the blink of an eye, and for a young mum, it was hard to watch my son decide he no longer needed me, that he was ready to start learning how to be independent.
From Newborn to Infant
Everyone says that the Newborn stage is hard. But i don't agree, the infancy stage is the hardest for me. I watched him go from sleeping in my arms, to no longer needing my comfort and transitioning into his own space and bed. I watched him no longer need me to carry him as he learnt to sit up, roll and crawl on his own. They tell you that the sleepless nights are the worst, granted, they're hard! But not as hard as when they start waking up less and less, and then the worry sets in. You're probably thinking, What worry? You can finally get a decent night's sleep, Why worry? But every night for a while, you lie awake thinking;
- Are they breathing?
- Are they hungry?
- Do they need me?
- Are they sleeping well?
- What if they're scared without me?
- Should I go check on them?
And then you start to think, you know what!? I'm going to check on them, maybe they're awake and upset and i don't even know. But when you go to check, you peek inside that little baby's cot, or bassinet, and they're just there, peacefully sleeping. They don't need you to help them back to sleep anymore, because they know how to do it on their own.
But you know what we always forget? or at least what I always forget? I am the one who showed him how to do that, I am the one who showed him how to sleep through the night, I am the one who helped him learn to crawl, sit up, and roll, I am the one who showed him how to be independent! But... It never makes it easier to accept that your baby is not your little baby anymore.
From Infancy to Toddler
My son learnt new things each and everyday, and the more he learnt the less he needed me. He went from crawling and rolling, to standing on his own. He went from drinking bottles and eating pureed food, to eating chunky meals and drinking water or juice. He went from standing, and taking little steps around furniture, to me having to chase him around the house because he runs off with something he shouldn't have. He used to babble and spit and goo and gaa, and now he calls out Daddy, or Mumma, Grandma or Grandad, water if he's thirsty or Nom Nom if he's hungry. He can even say Cracker! CRACKER! We went from deciphering our little baby's cries, to listening to our little man speak. And it's much harder than you realize when it all hits you at once, just how fast children grow.
For as long as I can remember I wanted children of my own. And it took me and my husband, just over 12 months of trying, before we were able to conceive our son. So naturally, i was beyond excited in every scan, appointment and visit to the GP. When my son finally arrived earth side, I couldn't contain the amount of love I had for him, and neither could my husband. But when he was born, despite having some knowledge on babies and how they grow, i never knew how heart wrenching it would be to watch my newborn grow into a little boy.
I often wonder how he grew so fast. Sometimes i'll look at my little boy running around the house, making a mess and just think, "I can't believe you are up and running around, when just yesterday you were laying on your back unable to do more than a wriggle." Something that started off so small became so big, and i sometimes feel guilty at how fast I let it fly through my fingers.
There are parenting books for milestones, feeding, all that jazz. But there aren't any parenting books that tell you exactly how it feels to be a devoted mother watching your little baby grow independent of you. And i think that is the hardest part of parenting. It's not the sleepless nights, it's not the crying fits, or the overtired tantrums. It's not the teething pain, or the stubbornness. It's watching a child that once used to be so reliant on you, so utterly infatuated with you, no longer need you.
I'd often tell myself that my son's 'growing up so fast,' was my fault. That it was me prompting him to reach his milestone's, that caused him to grow up faster than I imagined. It took me some time to realize that it was just meant to happen that way. No amount of extra prompting, or encouragement would have made a difference to how fast my son grew. He grew at a pace that I used to think was, 'too fast.' Some would say, it was 'too slow' even. But i have learnt to accept that my son grew at a pace that was perfect for him. And I have learnt that I can't blame myself for him growing up so fast. He was ready to grow and be independent and learn new things. And I (even though wasn't ready for him to grow so fast) was ready to be there during his journey. Because as a parent, that's what we do, that's what we are there for. For them.
© 2021 Vennessa Jane Perry