Morristown Mama Drama is two Morris County moms with two different perspectives– one from the land of Mardi Gras (New Orleans, LA) and one from the land of WaWa (Bucks County, PA)–sharing insights and tips from the trenches. We met in Morristown when our oldest kids were 6 months old and have been navigating this delightful, and sometimes harrowing, journey together ever since. Check out our latest escapades and local recommendations right here on Morristown Green.
Note: Can there be anything more “MamaDrama” then forgetting to do September’s column? Oops. Happy Fall!
The Longest Shortest Time is a parenting podcast on NPR that perfectly encapsulates the comments every new parent hears:
“It goes so fast. Enjoy it!”
“The days are long but the years are short!”
You flash a toothy grin, thinking: Yeah, yeah, I have to get this baby home before he falls asleep in the car. But the thing is, it feels like it goes so fast because it does. It’s just not that long of a time.
Think about your 20’s (or for some of us, your 30’s)…a decade is nothing. And once they hit kindergarten, next September for both of us, it’s only 13 more Christmases (or Hanukkahs) and then they are off.
As our two “babies” are now thoroughly into their Pre-K 2’s class, that sweet stab of yearning for those “good old days” (even if they didn’t seem that good at the time) has become a little more poignant, especially as two kids is it, no more new babies to elongate the process for us.
It’s All So Fleeting:
Wawa: “Nothing gold can stay,” wrote Robert Frost. He may not have been talking about soothing your baby in the middle of the night, but the sentiment still applies. So many things that you take for granted as part of the drudgery of those early days take on a rosy-hued sweetness when looked at through a rearview mirror (past the silhouettes of crumb-filled, juice-stained, forward-facing car seats of course).
- Keeping a baby entertained with a toy while changing a diaper.
- Watching the wonder with which they smear mushed food around their high chair tray – and face, and hair.
- The joy of the poop after days of constipation.
- Giving into a “lap nap” when they fall asleep on you and you can’t bring yourself to put them down, even though it means you won’t get any of the 20 things done that you planned to check off your list during nap time.
At some point, one of the times you do this will be the last time you do it, either with this child, or at all. You might not even realize it at the time. Suddenly, they’ll stand up for diaper changes, they’ll use a fork appropriately; they won’t be able to fall asleep in the confines of your arms.
There’s a reason so many people with older kids can’t stop themselves from inhaling all the breathable air surrounding a baby’s head. It’s not just the new baby smell, it’s the sense memory of that time when you were the whole world to your own baby, when they needed you for everything, which was more endearing when all they needed was to be held, sung to, fed, changed.
It seems so much more simple now than it did at the time, and while many of us wouldn’t want to actually go back to living it full time, it’s hard to resist the pull of those hazy, cozy days that the smell of a new baby recalls.
Mardi: Remember when the day was getting from one meal to the next? Mornings consisted of making sure that baby had a good breakfast and you did too (have to keep up that milk supply).
Then singing songs, introducing The Alphabet Song, dreading Tummy Time because the baby hates it, trying to space out the feedings (we need a schedule; everyone else is on a schedule!).
Then there was the breastfeeding that I thought I’d hate when sitting through the prenatal class, but what turned out to be the sweetest moments–when the world distilled down to this little face, this glider, sitting in the nursery where time stands still.
People always ask: “When did she sleep through the night?” Yes, it’s great to sleep but when it’s 2 am and snowing out the nursery window, and you snuggle into your chair, kick up your feet up, and everything melts away; you’ll miss it.
Enough that one day you’ll be waiting for the Salvation Army to pick up your old baby items in boxes outside your door, and you’ll creep back out at dawn and sneak Goodnight Moon back inside and onto the shelf.
Wawa: I was at the pediatrician with my now 3-year-old “baby” recently and from the exam room next door, I heard a mother, of what I assume by the sound of the cry was an infant, tell the doctor “he hasn’t rolled over yet.”
I heard that note of concern, almost slightly tinged with shame that I know so well from having a gross-motor-delayed infant. That fear that you’ve done something wrong. The ambivalence of not knowing if you want the doctor to say everything’s fine, so you don’t have to worry or tell you there is something wrong, so your concern is justified.
“Oh, honey,” I wanted to call through the thin wall. “He’s fine. You’re fine. That baby will roll over when he’s ready. You just snuggle him all you can and enjoy knowing he’ll be where you left him when you get back from the bathroom.”
To Call Early Intervention or Not?
Mardi: The pediatrician says we can wait and see. But if I call, then she’s “in the system.” Both of us have had Early Intervention. We have felt the heart racing–please don’t qualify but please do, so we can just get this fixed and can stop the insufferable comparing my kid to every kid we meet.
Wawa: If in doubt, call. I’m so grateful for the help that Early Intervention provided to my son. Any reservations you might feel about any sort of label that might put on your child are definitely overshadowed by the benefits the service provides.
The comparing is such a gut-wrenching, unavoidable and totally unhelpful vice. Especially if you have a child with delays. When all the other one-year-olds (and then 14-month-olds, and then 16-month-olds) are walking and yours is half army crawling, half dragging himself across the floor, it’s so hard not to project your own feelings about it onto your child.
It’s so difficult to remember that the scale of normal is so, so huge. I was lucky that my husband would use an appropriate amount of tough love when I would get down about my son’s physical milestones, reminding me to be grateful that he was healthy and happy.
That our baby didn’t know he was “supposed” to be walking, he was just enjoying discovering the world. And that he would walk when he was ready.
And you know what? Now he’s almost 5 and he runs, he jumps, he swims, he climbs, he rides. He does everything he is supposed to do… and several things he’s not. And, unaware that there was ever a concern about what he could or couldn’t do, he is still enjoying discovering the world.
Take pictures. I wish I had written more in the Baby Book. On doctor’s forms, questions like: “When did she first roll over” remind me of all I’ve forgotten. Unless it was a point of anxiety or she did it remarkably early, I can’t remember.
There’s a book someone bought me called: One Line a Day: A Five-Year Memory Book, which isn’t intimidating as you only have to fill in one line and can look back to the same day a year, two years…five years before, and see how it flies! I can handle one line.
Local tip: Appreciate the simple moments. Hit the Morristown Library, get some books and then head on over to SmartWorld Coffee to grab a sandwich (keep up the milk supply!) and a latte (a little caffeine really is ok) and a snack for the kids.