Something happens when you decide that you’re done having kids.
And before you tell me that I might change my mind and that hey, you never know, let me stop you right there. It ain’t happening. We have two amazing, beautiful children, and we are done. Finito. The shop is closed for business.
I know what you’re thinking, and unless you’re my mom (who thinks I should have another 15 kids), it’s most likely: No more dirty diapers! No more worrying about the soft spot on their heads! No more 3 a.m. feedings!
Sure, I was thrilled to make it through those early stages with my first child—to see the light at the end of the tunnel and to actually get there. It was a heady feeling and the most insane sense of accomplishment. We had done it and lived to tell the tale!
But with my second, things are different. The finality that my daughter is the last baby I will ever have brings a certain twinge of sadness with it. Even as I celebrate each mini milestone in her first few months of life, it all feels bittersweet. And don’t call the looney bin, because I’m pretty sure it’s just the postpartum hormones talking, but I think that I might even miss changing diapers someday. Seriously.
The truth is, I will miss the pure joy of the everyday moments. The little things that we tend to rush by or just try to get through. Because really, what are we rushing toward? Toddlerhood? The teenage years? No, babyhood is where it’s at. After all, this is the last time I’m going to experience the joy of…
Watching a baby discover her fingers and toes. They wiggle! They wave! They can go in her mouth! They are endlessly fascinating to a 4-month-old.
Feeling my baby’s body completely relax into mine. My daughter could be wailing, flailing and screaming bloody murder, but the second I pick her up, all is right in her world again. Her cries turn to plaintive sniffles, and as she snuggles into my shoulder, all of the tension goes right out of her body.
Knowing that a boob really will do the trick when nothing else will. That’s some serious mommy magic right there.
Baby giggles. There is nothing like that sound, not even the older-baby laughter that it will eventually turn into. The. Absolute. Best.
Her strong, toothless gums chomping on my collarbone. It hurts, I won’t lie, but there’s something about a baby’s tenacity and aggressiveness when doing this that I admire.
That gummy, toothless smile. It makes me wonder if teeth are overrated.
Figuring out what makes a baby tick. My son was obsessed with music from Day 1. It would always soothe my savage little beast, and four years later, he’s started violin lessons, he plays conductor at home and he thinks that John Williams is a god. My daughter, on the other hand, loves stuffed animals. When she was 6 weeks old, she looked at her stuffed lamb in a whole different way. She thought that he was her friend—and a hilarious one at that! I can’t wait to see how this obsession develops.
Hungry-baby face. There are two types: When a baby is rooting for your breast or the bottle and looks like a little barracuda, and when a baby first starts eating food and opens her mouth over and over again like a machine. They just can’t get enough, and it’s adorable.
Having a baby in my belly. This is a weird one because I was not a fan of being pregnant. I was constantly on edge, worried that something was going to go wrong and that I was going to lose the baby. And on a purely physical level, I was in so much pain toward the end of my second pregnancy (hello, lightning crotch!), and she kicked me so hard once that I was propelled forward like something out of an alien movie. But the not-so-painful kicks, the knowledge that I was solely responsible for her, and that feeling of closeness? It hurts my heart that I will never experience that again.
All-night snuggles. I am so, so tired. I pray for sleep. I fantasize about sleep. I can’t keep my eyes open when my daughter wakes up in the middle of the night, so I fall asleep on the couch with her cradled in my arms and sometimes still attached to a boob. My neck aches in the morning, and I never feel truly rested. But…I look down and see her face, asleep and serene and without a care in the world, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will miss this.
Seeing the world through her eyes. Everything is new and interesting and amazing. I see everyday objects and errands in a completely different way, and I am the better for it.
Sure, babies are a lot of work, but they are awesome. To paraphrase Ferris Bueller: We all need to stop and remind ourselves to appreciate that awesomeness every now and then, because otherwise, we could miss it. And that’s a lot worse than losing a little sleep for a few months.