Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Underworlds and Unknowns: Life After Three Months

The men of the family taking a dip in the lake...note the ice floating off shore...

Summer has arrived, with daylight and light jackets and a baby that occasionally sleeps through the night. My sister-in-law once remarked that the first three months of babyhood happen in a fog. While I tried to convince myself that I was perfectly lucid while existing on two hour naps between feedings and crying spells that come and go for seemingly no reason at all, the reality is that I don’t remember plenty.

It is hard to believe that three months has passed. At the same time, life-before-baby seems like a lifetime ago.

I ran a race this past week, a few miles I pounded out faster than I have in months, a half hour reminiscent of life before. These days I am in awe of the human body: the way mine has changed so drastically, and slowly returns to normal; the way my baby has doubled in weight in a few months time, never to return to the less than six pound miniature being she was when I met her.


Lately an underworld has emerged before my eyes: groups and facebook pages and conversation topics that unite this group that I have become a part of—mother of young child(ren).  I spend my days filling my time intentionally: going on walks, wandering grocery store aisles, circling the kitchen table with a crying a baby in my arms, cooing over the changing table while the freshly diapered gal grins with a smile that seems to cover half her face. Sometimes the kitchen gets cleaned; sometimes the laundry is put away. A lot of times clothing and dishes are strewn about until a well-timed nap coincides with me becoming fed up with the mess. Sometimes I hardly recognize the person I have turned into.

Yet there is solace in this underworld, confessions of failed expectations shared on wooded trails behind strollers. I could talk for hours about schedules, sleep patterns, eating habits, and developmental milestones. I have learned a whole new language that I didn’t even realize existed.

Three months. She smiles, and gurgles, and follows me with her eyes as I walk away. She calms when I hold her, and sucks on her fist so loudly I can hear it across our condo—even when the door to her bedroom is closed.

It’s hard to beat the way her eyes light up when she spots me—near or far. Attached, yes. But I’m doing my best to appreciate it; after all, it won’t last forever.

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