Fleeting Moments

The other night as I was showering before bed I had this intense flashback to 8-9 months ago. We were in the midst of attempt number 8 million to transition Eli to his crib and I was rushing through the shower in hopes that I’d get out before Eli woke up, screaming, for the umpteenth night in a row. I remember hurrying through every step of the shower, even once forgetting to rinse out the conditioner, just hoping that unlike the past 4 nights, I’d get all the way through. And that perhaps this would be the night he didn’t wake up horribly upset at all.

I remember clearly the stress I felt about sleep training, about that transition that was so difficult for us. It was all consuming at the time. I wondered if we’d ever figure it out, if Eli would ever sleep through a night. Everything felt so important, so big, in the moment. And now, it seems so small. So insignificant.

I belong to a few mom groups and one of the things I see all the time is moms of very young babies (6 weeks!) asking how they can get their babies to nap because they don’t want to build bad habits by letting their baby nap on them. I am not criticizing these mothers, not at all, I was one of them. I get that pressure and concern because I had it. And, now, being far removed from that point of parenting, all I want to say to them is please, please hold that baby. Please let that baby nap on you. Please take an hour, maybe 2, and just soak up those snuggles, that closeness, without worrying about tomorrow or next month. Because before you know it, that tiny infant will be almost 18 months old and in the infrequent occasions where he wants to snuggle, he will take up your entire lap with his long legs and wiggly body.

I just want to tell these moms that these moments, all of them, are fleeting. This is what I’ve learned. Everything about infancy, about toddlerhood is fleeting. As soon as you get used to something, it stops. As soon as you stress about something, it’s finished. These things that feel so huge and pressing, they’re just a tiny moment in a life.

I was so absorbed in the drama around getting Eli to sleep in a crib, or at least not in a rock n play, that I couldn’t see how brief that stage really was. I couldn’t see that it would be over and we’d be onto something else soon enough. That someday I’d take a shower, leisurely, without worrying about a screaming baby and having to decide where and how to get him back to sleep. That someday, Eli would sleep peacefully through the night without my help. I couldn’t see that we would all be fine.

It’s taken me a long time to get to this point where I feel like I need to enjoy every second of Eli’s life, instead of letting myself get completely wrapped up in the problem of the day. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still happen from time to time, but it happens less and I enjoy motherhood so much more. Realizing how far we’ve come, how much we’ve both learned, is a big deal.

And I think that in finally seeing how brief these moments are, it’s easier to enjoy them. To realize that though things really do feel monumental, they’re really just momentary. Every stage and struggle is fleeting, but this child is mine forever.

4 Responses to “Fleeting Moments”

  • That was beautiful. I remember feverishly scouring the Internets looking for guidance about a 3, 4, 5-month old’s “schedule” to emulate. Never mine that what we were doing was working. I was seeking “answers” to problems that didn’t exist. I was so worried I would be nursing my babies to sleep for the rest of my life I almost missed how easy the transition was to tucking them into their cribs at night and kissing them good night.

    And boy, howdy, do I miss the times they would just sleep on me. I’m not going to wax sentimental about the screaming, the anxiety, the hundreds of rocking steps and shushing noises we’d use to put them to sleep, but I’m also just now realizing how wonderful the moments of toddlerhood are. I’m still addicted to looking at their “baby” pictures.

    [Reply]

  • Jen:

    Thank you for writing this! One of the best pieces of advice I ever read in the early months with my little guy was that you’ll never know which nap on the chest will be the last. They sleep on you so easily one day — and the next, they want nothing to do with it. It really helped me set aside everything else and just focus on those snuggles.

    I really hope one of the moms you mention will read your wonderful writing and remember to savor everything about those precious few moments.

    [Reply]

  • I do miss those snuggle times. I got my 6 year old to nap with me yesterday. It was much needed and not fun trying to get him to fall asleep but he did. When he finally settled down and wrapped his arm around my neck, it was worth the battle. I don’t miss the newborn days but I do miss snuggle time.
    Sometimes it’s hard to enjoy the stage we’re in with kids, but we all need to savor the better moments as they go by fast.

    [Reply]

  • Al_Pal:

    Ahhh, what a refreshing post to read, after an absence from blog reading! So nice to see that you’ve found time to Be Here Now.
    Hugs!

    [Reply]

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Welcome!
I'm Katie, a 30-year-old, wife, mom, former teacher-turned PT, who also had brain surgery in November of 2007. This blog chronicles my daily life, from mundane to crazy, often with far too much detail. Sit down, get comfortable and stay for a while.
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