because the cuddles are so, so nice

When I was still pregnant with Dylan I imagined taking him camping with us at the end of the summer, at two months old. People told me it would be easy when he’s so little, when he just wants to be carried around, when he just wants to sleep. Or we could walk in the park, walk around the mall (of course I would still need to shop!). I had the illusion that a baby would be something like an accessory I toted around, a new bag, a laptop computer.

And here the illusion breaks down. Dylan doesn’t breastfeed. It’s not his style, apparently. The milk is fine, but not the boob. My industrial strength dual-sided milking machine would hardly be appropriate in the great outdoors. And besides that, I can’t even imagine how I would wash the bottles. The illusion breaks down even further because Dylan hates his baby carrier. Baby carriers are hot. He’s pressed up against my sweaty cleavage in the heat of summer, and he’s already a sweaty hot baby to begin with. And what about his 9:00 fuss? How would the other campers appreciate hearing that for two hours?

You don’t think about these things when you’re pregnant. You don’t think about sleeping in two hour chunks and exactly how exhausting it will be (Dylan slept for five hours, once, the other night and let me tell you, it was heaven!). You think, it won’t be that bad. How can it be that bad? No one would ever have babies if it were that bad. When you’re pregnant you think he’ll just lay there and look cute. You think, motherhood can’t be that hard. If Britney Spears can do it, anyone can!

But then it IS that hard. Motherhood is SO hard. When your family and friends are 100 miles away, and your in-laws are 3000 miles, when after two weeks your husband has to go back to work again and you’re left alone with a screaming baby, you’ve had no sleep for two weeks, and for a moment (or maybe even longer) you might think, oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?

They don’t tell you that part when you’re pregnant.

But then one night he doesn’t have his 9:00 fuss. He just drinks his bottle, starts to drift off at the end of it. You hold him close in your way-too-expensive glider chair and rock. His eyes are closed, his breathing soft and rhythmic (this is how you know he is really asleep). You could put him down now, but you don’t. Not yet. Because he is warm, and the rocking is gentle and soothing, because his eyelids flicker and he brings up the corners of his mouth in what might just be a real smile. You keep rocking, because this moment is so, so nice. And as you hold him you think about all the ways this baby is becoming a part of your real life that you never could have imagined when you were pregnant.

5 thoughts on “because the cuddles are so, so nice

  1. Love the way you’ve captured the honest truth of parenting here. I also love the way you end it with the beauty of motherhood and the sweetness of just holding and rocking your baby.

    You really could do the camping thing if you were hell-bent on it. Jonas was only 3 weeks old when we started our hurricane lineup. No power, no running water, leaky roofs, it was all very similar to a camping experience, and with 100 degree heat! Ick.

    I won’t say it was fun, or enjoyable, but we managed to get by. Will Dylan take to the playtex bottles with the disposable liners? If so, that makes the washing bottles part so much easier. J had a picky little mouth and wouldn’t take anything but one certain shape and size.

    But, I’ll agree with you that staying home in the beauty of air conditioning may be the best choice. 🙂

  2. Okay, so am I scared of being a mother yet, well I wasn’t until I read this. YIKES!!!! At least with you talking about your experience I will be better prepared in February. Just let me know when things get better. I am already prepared (not looking forward to) the two hour naps the baby will take and the 2 hours of “What do I gotta go”? time for me. Keep up the blogs, I love them!!!

  3. Wow, Angie, you’re a genius! I’d never even thought about disposables. That really might work. And I suppose I could plug my pump into the car. We might just be able to do this thing (maybe we’ll just try out one night). You’ve given me hope 🙂

    And Christine, don’t be scared. But I think you’ll be better off to find out now that they don’t call motherhood the hardest job on Earth for nothing! The second and third weeks are the toughest, and then it just gets better and better and better. You guys will be just fine.

  4. I don’t think I’m genius, I’ve just got about two years of practical experience under my belt. Believe me, I’ve learned it all through trial and error. (Mostly error)

    And for all my suggestions, we have yet to take J camping. But we’ve done the hurricanes, and we’ve done 20 something hour car trips with stomach viruses. We’ve done airplanes, baths in sinks, unfamiliar environments, even fairy festivals, and he’s survived them all.

    I think the one night trial is a great idea. Is there a local park nearby where you could throw up a tent for a night and do a test? That way you’d still be close enough to home to go back of you needed to.

    As far as pumps go, maybe purchasing an inexpensive manual pump would be worth the money, if you plan on making lots of trips away from home.

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