The Dumpling is 3 years and 6 months old. My parenting worries have eased since the baby days when each week came with new expected milestones. It also helps any lingering worrying that, just to be safe, she wears a life jacket at all times.
No that’s not true. She doesn’t wear it to bed…
Her bed is a raft.
The raft is in a secret bunker.
When I was forty weeks pregnant and feeling like a stuffed sausage, I thought everything would be so much better if I could just have the baby already.
When the Dumpling was under a week old and continuously warming up her lungs for a future opera career, I was positively nostalgic for the good old stuffed sausage days. A few days with a crying infant, I was terrified of this new life I had entered. The baby was out and I expected things to be back to normal. But, I didn’t know who the person was who showed up in the mirror. I truly felt like a different person inside and out.
I have my delivery and postpartum scary stories. Most women have them. In fact, it seems that whatever surprise I expect to illicit in a new mom friend when I share my story is topped by something far worse that she went through.
“Oh, you had a long labor that ended in a c-section? I did too…on a canoe…in Antarctica…while fighting off an attack by an orca whale.”
I only recently heard of an easy delivery story. A friend said that for both of her kids, she went into labor, made it to the hospital and immediately delivered with little difficulty. The experience was so remarkable to her doctor that she was advised not to share her story with other moms. I think she may have even had to sign a confidentiality agreement.
“No epidural, no pushing, no pain – unheard of! Whatever you do, DO NOT breathe a word of this to anyone! Leave it in the delivery room vault forever! I can’t be expected to recreate this experience. If anyone finds out about this, it will end us!”
But, really. In an era where positive self-talk and spreading kindness is the new therapy norm, I would like to think most moms would not be so averse to hearing a pain free labor story. Or at least they are open because they’ve repressed their own delivery memories.
The truth is, my delivery and postpartum days are all a blur now. Slowly things stopped being so scary. Life changed and moved forward.
All those days and nights feeding, burping, changing diapers. Then one day I looked down at her legs and feet and they looked so big – more like a kid than a baby. Somewhere along the way the slowness of each passing second during that infant stage turned into a toddler whirlwind where time moves at a record pace.
For over a year we’d try the ladder at the playground that connected to a giant slide. She’d always get stuck on the first rung of the ladder. “You’re still too little. Someday, when you’re a big kid you’ll be able to climb to the top,” I’d say, sure this was decades away.
Then, the other day she shot up the ladder and thrust herself down the slide, as if she’d been doing it her whole life.
How did this happen? How did she get so big already? I’m not ready. How could I want everything to go by so quickly when she was a baby? Can’t we slow things down a little? Let’s not even get into the realization that her getting bigger means me getting older. Can we just take a break and freeze time (and my face, neck and hands) for a few…years…?
These are momentary thoughts. I know her growth is the best thing I could ever hope for. It’s just hard to believe she is almost four years old. But, it’s true and I’m grateful for that growing Dumpling.