As those who have been around awhile know, Norah used to be a crap sleeper. We agonized for the better part of two years as to what to do and tried just about everything to make her sleep better. We had just about every contraption ever made for babies (bassinets, co-sleepers, white noise machines, sleep sheeps, etc etc etc). For a solid stretch of eight months or so she slept in our bed every night because it was the only way anyone got any sleep. I worried she would never sleep on her own. I worried she would get too attached or if she slept alone she would feel abandoned. I worried we were somehow doing her wrong. I worried.
Lou on the other hand took to sleeping remarkably well. He slept alone and often and in long peaceful stretches. We thought we had it made.
And then he turned six months old. And wanted to play with us all of the time. And knew when we were gone and he was all alone. And started getting teeth. And started moving like some kind of jungle animal in his crib. And wasn't happy about it.
And so, here we are again.
But it feels different this time around. I don't mind as much. I don't worry as much. Because I know it's fleeting. Because in the blink of an eye he's going to be a kid. A kid who eats real food and sleeps in a bed and goes to school and uses the toilet. A kid who knows what a scepter is and the Spanish word for butterfly. A kid who asks 9 million questions a day and decides worms are nice but kind of disgusting because they eat dirt and probably their own poop. A kid who announces from the back seat of the car that a mermaid must pee out of her belly button because she doesn't have a butt.
Don't get me wrong. I am tired. Really tired. And I would love to sleep without getting drop kicked in the face. But I know that even though it may not be ideal right now, it isn't going to last forever. Most everyone I have talked to about it has found their second child to be easier. They trust their instincts, they don't worry as much (no time, no energy), and they are confident they know what they are doing. I bemoaned to our pediatrician once that I felt guilty that Lou didn't get the kind of attention that Norah did and she reminded me that Lou also isn't getting "the crazy." All of these things are true, but I think fundamentally the biggest difference is that the second time around you really understand that nothing stays the same. They change so dramatically, so quickly and if you look away you'll miss it.
I am a little obsessed with this music right now. It's a kids folk duo (and I apologize in advance, anyone who has a baby in the next 10 years is getting this as a gift from me....it's that good). One of my favorite songs (and really, they're all my favorites), has the lyric: "It's a big world baby, and you're little. For a little while." Maybe it's because Louis is our last and we aren't ever going to experience these "baby" things again, but lately the sentiment seems especially profound. I am trying to appreciate all of the little things, even when they are frustrating and exhausting and demoralizing (believe me, I still have my moments), but with a certain perspective even the shitty days don't seem quite so shitty.
I am lucky to have them. And I want them to know I always felt that way. Even when they were kicking me in the face.