As I round the corner on baby Surrey’s first year and say goodbye to the baby days for good, I want to take a moment to speak directly to my brothers- and sisters-in-arms that are currently slogging through the baby jungle:
Take heart, dear friends. Nothing lasts forever, especially all that…well, you know.
Let me share a story:
One afternoon, I walked into my kitchen, poured a glass of pop, grabbed a handful of pretzels, and sat down on the couch to watch an adult TV show for about an hour. Uninterrupted. In the middle of the day. While all three children were home (granted, one of them was napping on me, but still). As I walked into the TV room and set down my snacks, I thought to myself, “Wait — this is AWESOME. How did I get here?”
Those kids, the ones that used to be babies and toddlers? They got older. And better. Surrey still has some growing to do, but now, instead of two or three that need to be micromanaged, there’s only one. Even Bella can be trusted to play on her own for awhile (you just have to watch for water dripping down the walls).
Most afternoons, the girls will wander upstairs and begin to occupy themselves in their bedrooms. With their toys. Like kids do in movies. I’ll go up there to get something, and there they are: talking to themselves, acting out their little dramas with their toys. Sometimes Phaedra pops in a DVD and they watch a movie while they play. All without my assistance. I’m not saying I can send them to their room for the day and wish them luck until dinnertime; we’ve got at least another ten years before that happens. I can generally hear what’s going on up there from the ground floor, and occasionally I yell up the stairs for a status report from Phaedra. If I get the all-clear from her, and hear a couple of squawks from Bella, I call it good for another 15-20 minutes. More than enough time to watch a TV show in peace without rewinding it every five minutes because I can’t hear a goddamn thing they said.
if we can’t hear the testimony, Judy?
Dudes, they do all kinds of shit on their own now. Put their own shoes and socks on, fetch items from around the house, even get their own food from the fridge! Phaedra even dresses herself. I say to her, “Honey, can you please go get dressed?” and she does it. It’s like magic! I’m David fucking Copperfield up in here! Even more magical? Sometimes, in the course of getting dressed, the panties she must have put on under her shorts just…disappear! COOL TRICK BRO!
It’s a weird transition, going from having babies in the house to having kids in the house. When you have kids back-to-back, you get used to constantly holding, feeding, changing, following, and talking to a small someone all day long. Then, when your youngest starts to gain a little bit of independence, BAM — pregnant again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Just like Jim Gaffigan says, you feel like you’re about thirty seconds from drowning all day, every day. For years. So, if you were wondering why you always get the stinkiest of the stink-eyes anytime you gleefully ask a parent of a small child when they’re having another baby? That’s why.
People tell me this should feel bittersweet. That I should be a little nostalgic for those baby days. Maybe I’m just too close to it right now, and maybe it’s because I still actually have a baby in the house, but I don’t feel that. Right now? I feel nothing but hope. Hope for all the new, amazing things these girls will do. Hope that I didn’t screw up too badly in those first few years. Hope that they will blossom into the fascinating, beautiful girls I suspect them to be. Hope that I can keep up with them
Hope for the day that the only vagina I see all day long is my own.