Twice a day, I put Olivia down for a nap. I change her diaper and a zip her into her little sleep sack, and we sit on the couch in her room where I read her board books; the same ones over and over and over again. A couple days ago, she started grabbing my left hand, the one holding half the book, and pulling it around her waist, and leaning her little head against my shoulder. She plays with my fingers as I awkwardly try and flip board book pages with one hand, and I want to stay there forever and ever, reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear over and over again. Soon enough she gets bored and starts flipping meaningful glances at her crib, and I know it’s time to put her down, because baby puts herself to sleep these days, thank you very much. She won’t fall asleep in my arms anymore- she’d rather sleep on her belly, and she requires a couple minutes of crawling around the crib and tossing and turning before shoving her head into the corner bumper in order to properly fall asleep (just like me- I have to flip and flop a couple times before ending up on my side, no matter that I know I’ll end up there. The flipping and flopping is part of the process; I shouldn’t be surprised she has a process of her own. Mine doesn’t involve crying though- I assume one day hers won’t either [Please, whoever is in charge of these things, PLEASE]).
This is all I ever wanted out of motherhood- snuggles from a small person, someone who WANTED to sit in my lap and pet my fingers and rest her head on my shoulder. Even the little moments I get now are too too short, and I find myself missing the days when she WOULD fall asleep in my arms, when she was a tiny swaddled newborn and then I think I’ve lost my mind; I don’t even need to read my own archives to know I HATED her newborn days.
Maybe it’s not that I specifically miss those days, it’s that I didn’t know to enjoy them, even in the midst of hating them. I would probably have punched anyone who told me to cherish those moments, but from this vantage point, I kinda wish I had. Maybe not all the moments, but the little ones that I thought I’d have forever, but HA HA HA, I didn’t know I wouldn’t. There’s just SO MUCH no one can tell you about your first go at motherhood- I mean, sure they can TELL YOU, but you’re not going to listen, because how can you? I haven’t done anything, and I mean ANYTHING, else in my life I’ve ever been so miserably unprepared for as this parenthood gig.