You’ve probably read the books on what to expect during a baby’s first year. Here’s my version, which is way less complicated and probably more true.
0-3 months: Cry Babies
That’s all they do. Cry and drink milk and cry and doze off for a while and cry some more which usually leads to you crying as well. You spend all that time waiting for a smile or a “thank you, mommy, you’re the best” and if you’re lucky enough to catch them on a particularly gassy day, you convince yourself that they’re actually grinning at you out of love and gratitude. But mostly, they just cry so it’s not terribly fun. My advice is to hang in there and if you feel like you need to cry too, there’s really no shame in bawling your eyes out.
4-6 months: Cute and cuddly
This is right about the time the rolls on their thighs start to really fill out. They coo and gurgle and look at you with those googly eyes that almost makes you forget the trauma of having a newborn. You witness the first flip, breathe in that intoxicating baby smell and hear the sound of a baby’s giggle that turns your heart to mush every time. Life gets better but mostly, they still cry a lot.
7-8 months: Independence Day
The mobility and independence kicks in and you suddenly realize that you’ve got a live one on your hands. They chew on electrical wiring, fling food everywhere and leave behind a trail of destruction. But good things happen and you stop needing to burp them for hours on end. Finally, the investment you made on all those developmental toys are worth their weight in gold and it buys you 30 minutes of uninterrupted silence. You can turn to the husband and gloat because now he has to eat his words when he said “only suckers pay a hundred bucks for a stupid dog that lights up and sings“. Now he’s all like “Daddy will buy you 10 doggies, one in each color, sweetheart”.
9 months: The really fun part
The moment they hit 9 months, you can let out that sigh of relief. By now, they should have worked out their nap time issues, sleep 12 hours through the night and do all the cute stuff you imagined every baby would do before you gave birth. The period from 9-18 months is like the moment of respite before the terrible twos hit and you have a screamy, whiny, tantrumy toddler who’s sole mission in life is to wear you out and make you cave.
In short, Kirsten has entered the really cute phase. From experience, this is a very brief window of optimum cuteness before the hissy fits kick in. Now, she still doesn’t know what a hissy fit is nor the perceived benefits of throwing one. She’s settled in nicely into a manageable routine. She grins and giggles and grooves to the beat and me, I’m just loving the moment.
As parents, we’re obliged to think that our babies are the cutest in the universe and even when they’re not, we’re supposed to love them like they are. But trust me, it does help when they actually are that cute.
I waited 9 months to meet her and another 9 months for her to blossom. I think baby girl has finally blossomed. Literally.