Shortly after I found out that I was pregnant I started a journal in which I would write to the baby, telling it all the things I was experiencing – good and bad. Since she was born I have kept up this journal, writing her birth story and about important events that have been happening in her first year – Like the gold medal hockey game at the Olympics.
It is much easier for me to write all my thoughts and all her memories in a Moleskine than it is for me to figure out exactly what goes where in her baby book. The baby book has all these lines to fill in – her first smile, her first laugh, what happened on her first night home. It is almost impossible to pinpoint these things. She’s been smiling for weeks, which of those was her first real smile? I have no idea, because she started smiling before she was supposed to and people told me it was just gas, and then she would smile in her sleep and that was somehow different. And now she smiles every morning when I stand over her crib after I hear her start moving around as though she’s happy to see me and knows that I’m her mom.
And if someone can tell me just exactly we’re supposed to remember the times to input in the “On your first night home you slept from blank to blank and again from blank to blank” I would appreciate it. I had to write in, off the grid: “On your first night home you barely slept, in fact you spent most of the night screaming – it’s one of those things that’s perfectly normal but that no one tells you about until it’s happening and you’re panicking.”
I’m growing to hate the baby book and the calendar that’s supposed to have stickers on each of the big days in her first year. It’s fair enough to put a sticker for her first bath or her first doctor’s visit, but how am I supposed to pinpoint the day she discovers her hands? She sucked her thumb minutes after she was born, she stopped hitting herself in the face weeks ago and now she sticks her first in her mouth and grabs my fingers or her bottle. Which of those things means that she knows that her hands are hers?
But then there are the things I get excited about that seem so ridiculous. The past few days she has started really trying to roll over – she’s been able to go from her back to her side for a little while, but now she goes from her side to her belly but can’t quite get the momentum to get back on her side from there yet. This week it seems as though she’s determined to get that down pat. Every time I set her down she ends up in some different orientation. It’s fascinating to watch. And today, when I put her down beside me on the couch, I look over and not only had she ended up on her belly, she was holding herself up with her arms with her head held high. I don’t remember the last time I was so excited.
Just true blue excited.
She’s growing so fast and she’s learning so much and I want to document it all for her, even though I know that she’s not really going to understand how big the small steps are unless she has a baby and watches it for herself. I certainly didn’t. Now it seems as though every day something else hits me that reminds me how much she’s changing and how much she will change.
And so, I write to her so that maybe one day she will know and to remind myself just how special every moment is and how special we are together.