Theo was such a perfect baby. I cannot get over how cute he looks in those manly little pajamas. He's always been a big tummy sleeper, so I stay away from this style of pajamas with the buttons down the front, but these were a gift and I absolutely adored them while they fit him. It seems like he's still my little baby, but that sweetheart in the photo is now a full-fledged toddler. I can't believe it!
Last week, I got a little taste of baby again while he was sick. Starting Tuesday night, it was rough and I barely slept for three nights. Finally, Friday morning at 3 am, I was running on fumes and so desperately needed to sleep. All attempts at napping during the day had failed for one reason or another and I was so tired it actually hurt. Up until that point, our night had been patchy at best, but it was at 3 am that I finally woke up fully and accepted that Theo was too miserable to do any real sleeping. I pulled myself upright and tried to give him some ibuprofen. He was angry, flailing and sent it flying out of my hand. So, I did what I had to do and got him into a headlock and forced the 5 ml of ibuprofen into the back corner of his mouth with the oral syringe. (Pro tip: Always buy the ibuprofen with the oral syringe over the little cup. The little cup will just wind up being swatted across the room and that stuff is sticky! Anyway...)
Once I'd dosed the little guy, I took him out into the living room where we sat on the couch together. I yawned so hard that my eyes squeezed shut and a few tears escaped from the corners of my eyes. Bleary eyed, I caressed Theo's soft chubby feet. Some light from the street lights was sneaking in through the blinds and the room was decorated with scattered dots. All was quiet. Theo's sweet downy head lay heavy on my shoulder, when suddenly, I was overwhelmed by a rush of absolutely gut wrenching nostalgia. I rubbed his back, closed my eyes and breathed in his smell. I wished that time would stand still so I could hold onto that fleeting moment with my baby just a little bit longer.
Lately, I just can't seem to shake the feeling that Theo's babyhood and Coco's childhood are just slipping away from me every second of every day. And they are, I guess.
When we got back to bed, I took Theo's temperature again. It was still high, but the ibuprofen hadn't really had time to start working yet. I massaged some lavender balm onto the soles of his feet and we sat together. I rocked him and hummed lullabies quietly in his ear. I kissed his round cheeks and lay him down on his tummy. I continued to rub his back until his breathing was completely even. It was hard to believe how frustrated I had felt when he was flailing and punching the ibuprofen out of my hand. Sleeping there in the dark, he looked like a little cherub.
I was exhausted, but too filled with swirling thoughts to fall back asleep. My brain wandered and I wondered if maybe I want another baby sometimes because I feel like I missed out on a lot of Theo's babyhood due to all the stress and chaos of last year. Some days it felt like all I did was shuffle him from one seat to the next: baby swing to car seat to the bouncy seat in my office and back again. We were so busy and overwhelmed and lacking any support. But having another baby wouldn't change that. A lot of the time - most of the time - I'm just so happy with Coco and Theo and our family really does feel complete. And yet, I remain inquisitive. I continue to feel that longing and wonder about it.
After asking around, I was relieved to discover that most moms feel like they didn't get to enjoy and focus on their second baby the same way as they did with their first, simply because they still had - wait for it - their first! So I am glad, looking back, that I prioritized the way I did last year. Our house was a complete and total wreck (no exaggeration) but I was snuggling my baby and listening to my toddler's stories and spending time with my husband and I enjoyed all of them and those were the right choices. If we were to add a third helpless little human to the mix, we'd be back at square one and there would be that much less mama energy and attention to go around. Not to mention taking care of myself and having enough time with J. I'm not sure that's what I want. We might actually favor the lifestyle of travel and adventure over the lifestyle of the big family.
I jotted down a few notes and then heard Coco's door open and her little feet pitter patter into our room. She climbed in and I helped her get situated and go back to sleep. Then I found myself squished, rather uncomfortably, between my two little miracles as they slept. And lying there in the dark, my thoughts no longer swirling, drifting off to sleep, I thought to myself how wonderful this season of my life is and vowed to enjoy it while it lasts.