I’ve mentioned before that I find myself playing the “this time last year…” game a lot (more on that here). This week, when I look back on what was going on one year ago I recall the weekend my lovely friends celebrated our soon-to-be arriving baby girl with one of the best darn baby showers you have ever seen. My dear friends Angela, Rachel, and Melanie pulled out all the stops and gave me the kind of shower that brought tears to my eyes the moment I walked in (of course, at 28 weeks pregnant and full of hormones lots of things brought tears to my eyes…but still, I was truly touched by the care and details they put into the day). Here are some pictures as I take a quick little walk down memory lane.
|Onesie making station. Brilliant! I'm just now using the biggest of these.|
|The whole gang. (Note, my mom getting some baby-holding practice with my friend Emily's little boy, Hank.|
And as I think about what we were doing one year ago I realize that it won’t be long before the “this time last year” game will call up memories that actually include our baby girl. As in, “this time last year we were holding her for the very first time,” or “this time last year, Annie was just one month old,” or “this time last year, we were taking Annie to the park for a little impromptu photo shoot.” It is so incredibly hard to believe how fast this first year with her is going by. And now she is firmly entrenched in that stage where it seems like she is changing and learning something new every single day.
|Starting to "share" with us.|
She isn’t the only one learning new things. One of the many by-products of motherhood is the ability it brings – or forces – to learn about yourself. I feel like I’ve learned more about myself these last almost ten months than I had for many years prior to that. I’ve learned about some strengths I didn’t know I had, and some weaknesses too…in equal parts, really. It’s been an eye-opening year in a lot of ways.
One of the things I have learned about myself is that I really really like routine. I recognized this in myself before Annie came along, of course, but I didn’t really know the extent of my Type A-ness until the weeks and months following her birth. I am so Type A I think there may need to be a new category for people like me – maybe Type A-plus? I really crave order and routine and structure. Many of you are probably shaking your heads right now, thinking something like, “Well say good-bye to those days, little lady, you’ve got a kid now.” And you are right. Having a child really cuts down on the whole ordered household bit.
That being said, however, I feel like we’ve really got a good little routine going in our lives right now. (I actually had to convince myself after I typed that sentence that I wasn’t superstitious enough to think that the act of saying that out loud would jinx me and bring my presumed structure at home to a crashing halt, and I didn’t need to delete it. Then I actually did delete it – thinking maybe I was that superstitious after all and I didn’t want to push the issue. But eventually decided to type it anyway. So here’s hoping I haven’t upset the balance of things here.) We have figured out morning routines and bedtime routines. Annie may be a little like her mama in that she seems to thrive on routine as well. Let’s just hope she stops at that and doesn’t take it to obsessive levels like me. We’re figuring out how to have quality time in the mornings and evenings and how to really use the time we all have together on the weekends.
|Annie loves playtime with Daddy...|
|and Target trips with Mommy.|
I also feel like I am improving my abilities to take time to be just plain Sarah again and not just Annie’s mom. I’m running three mornings a week and taking time every morning for some alone time before everyone else wakes up. I honestly think my career switch has helped immensely. And Annie’s growing skills and independence are helping as well. She’s always been a happy baby (bless her heart and thank you Jesus!), but she seems even happier now that she doesn’t have to rely on us to get her from point A to point B and can use her mad crawling skills to do it by herself. While a mobile baby does keep Mama and Daddy on our toes, the fussy grunting and whining is kept much more to a minimum these days because she isn’t frustrated by being stationary anymore.
And frankly, I think I am much better at this whole older infant baby-raising gig than I was during the newborn stage. I spent so much time second guessing and freaking out that I had a hard time actually enjoying what was happening. Or being at all comfortable with myself. Honestly, it was really really hard for me to give up control of my own schedule and, well, life in general, to focus every waking (even in the middle of the night) second to the desires and needs of a tiny baby. I don’t think that makes me a bad mom – which is a switch, I kind of used to secretly think it did – I just think it makes me a new mom. But now that I feel more comfortable in my role and Annie is so interactive and, well, cool, we are really having some fun. And I feel more confident in my abilities to parent her.
|We see this look a fair amount. It's her "What? I wasn't doing anything" face.|
|We see this view a lot too.|
David is much better than I am at taking things in stride, so I’m sure if he were writing this blog post the story would be a little different. But I do think we are both feeling better about the task of raising a child than we did in those early days. And everything seems a little easier now that Annie is belly laughing at the things we do and waving and high-fiving us and clapping. Seeing her sweet, funny personality take shape really goes a long way in making us feel like we’re doing something right.