Saturday, February 25, 2012

Year One



Our little boy is one year old. I've been putting off this post because, while I'm fine at blabbing about Jack in little daily posts, I feel like this entry requires a little bit of thought. And I'm not very good at thoughtful, quality writing. I certainly don't have the writing skills to sum up something as complex as our first year of parenthood. So I apologize in advance.



A year ago (approximately), John and I were driving to the hospital to "check in" for my induction. It was not how I envisioned the birth going but, looking back, who really cares? As my friend told me when I was 9 months pregnant, "I spent so much time thinking about and planning the birth and I should have been worrying about the following 6 months." Ain't that the truth. I know Jack's birth was painful but, at this point, I can barely remember it. And I've seemingly blocked out the first 8 weeks or so. Not completely of course. I remember our little alien being with his jerky hands and alert eyes. But the details of the "dark days" are hazy. I remember some sort of adult diaper thing the first 24 hours. I remember pain. I remember barely being able to walk around the block the first week. I remember being tired and not sleeping. I remember crying because breastfeeding wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. But it really is all a blur.



Of course what I'll remember most about Jack's first year is sleep. Or lack thereof. And it's really such a boring topic that I hate to even go into it. People tell you that you won't sleep. They'll joke to get as much sleep as you can before the baby comes. I shrugged it off and thought that I was prepared for all of those sleepless nights. I read the popular sleep books and I had it down. You coddle them for the "4th trimester" (the first 3 months) and then you merely put them down drowsy but awake and they learn to fall asleep by themselves. And then sleep 12 continuous hours a night. Man, how wrong I was. So so so wrong. I learned quickly that every baby is different. And John and I truly experienced the torture of sleep deprivation. While a lot of things are blurry, I can clearly remember how miserable we were when we were only sleeping about 2 or 3 hours a night. For an hour at a time. So many hours bouncing on a ball, rocking him in our arms, pacing the house, and, my favorite, sitting straight up in bed with him because that's the only way he'd sleep. It was the worst I'd ever felt and the closest I've ever been to insanity I think. I'm so happy it's over.



Just as I thought I knew everything about sleep, I was wrong about so many other things. I had read so much and taken classes on breastfeeding and yet it didn't go as planned. I heard that post-partum was hard and that there would be a rollercoaster of emotions. As a normally pretty stable person, I really wasn't prepared for the highs and lows. I told myself we would never let our baby cry it out and then, 5 miserable sleepless months later, we did. Pre-baby, I couldn't believe that moms let their children out of the house with food all over their face, dried prunes on their onesies, and sand in their hair. I've done all those things. I figured I wouldn't be that mom who was at the grocery store with spit-up stains down her sweater but hell if that's not me three days out of the week. I didn't think I'd let my well-behaved future baby ever meltdown in a restaurant and throw food all over the ground. Oops. I've done that too. I never ever thought that I'd have to stop watching certain TV shows and movies. I mean, for crying out loud, that's my business. I love tv and films. But, damn, both John and I have had to turn off shows that feature sick children or kidnapping or just plain sad kid stories. I am happy to say that the one thing I've been successful at is showering every day. I am fanatical about that and I've been able to keep it up. My husband is happy about that I'm sure.



And about my husband. I didn't fully comprehend how cool it would be to see him become a father but it's been pretty neat. He's a natural (as you've witnessed if you know him) and I've loved watching him with Jack. I'm lucky that he got to spend time with him right after he was born so they had a chance to bond. I think it's really paid off now because Jack has no problem staying with daddy while I go off for some much needed alone time (read: buying shirts at Target). A lot of people warn you that a baby creates a wedge in a marriage and I've certainly seen that with a lot of couples. But I can safely say that we're lucky that that hasn't happened. We love our little family of three. Life is certainly different with a kid but, at the same time, Jack has pretty effortlessly folded into our lives and house and our friends and family.



But, that being said, we couldn't have predicted how much parenthood would change us. They tell you it will but you can't understand. Which is why now I don't bother telling pregnant friends anything about it. They won't listen and can't comprehend it. But I'll talk to them in a few months when they get to the other side. Because it really is like crossing over. Parenthood is the best thing in the world but also the worst. I've never felt worry to this degree. Just the deepest darkest pit of worry. About everything. The smallest everyday things and the bigger picture things that are at least 15 years away (hopefully). But the joy is pretty intense. My very wise aunt told me that it (childbirth and parenting) is the last true miracle left in life. And with iPhones and DVRs and Facebook making everything easy and accessible, it is truly miraculous to see our baby turn into a little boy.



So happy birthday to our adorable little Jackie Nunzio. He is handsome, inquisitive, and such an alert observer. A boy of few words, he is equally happy reading his books as he is throwing dirt and pebbles from one end of the yard to the other. And his smile and laugh can melt our hearts. Can't wait for year two.


12 comments:

  1. Great post, Lisa. I think it sums up year one with truth and love. Beautiful.

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  2. I think this is the most beautiful post you've written! You made me cry!

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  3. Wow - you really nailed it this time Lisa. Your Aunt Patty and I felt the exact same way. I especially liked your reference to the "other side". It shocked us how profoundly our life changed once the little one arrived, but there is no way that a couple could really understand until they have crossed that threshold.

    Jack is an extremely lucky little boy to have such incredible parents.

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    1. Thanks for the very nice comment Uncle Bobby. Can't wait for you to meet Jack soon!

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  4. What a beautiful boy you are raising you guys!! And you think you can't write quality posts? I loved this!! I enjoyed a peek into your first year as a mum so thanks for sharing! Hopefully his sleep improves for you, babies really are all different aren't they. I never read anything and just kind of winged it. So far so good!! It's when they get older when it gets harder hehehe
    Here's to an awesome 2nd year!!

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  5. seems to me like you have exactly the words to sum up the complexity of parenthood year one. love everything about this post. and man, "the other side." it really is freaking shocking over here. thank god you're here too.

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    1. Glad we crossed over at the same time!!

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  6. Sigh followed by tears. Love this. You are one great mom. xo-Leigh

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  7. I've been meaning to stop by and say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JACK! And congratulations on a great first year, mom & dad! This is a wonderfully written recap of the roller coaster first year. I'm still hoping that deepest darkest pit of worry gets easier to live with, but I'm not very optimistic =)

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    1. Thanks Erin! Hope you and your beautiful daughter are doing well. Let me know how that deep dark pit goes... :)

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  8. I thought this when I first read this post, but I'm a little behind on commenting - this is a really beautiful post, Lisa. I'm so glad that I've had the experience of being a mom to a little guy at the same time as you. I completely echo what Stacey said and again, what infinite comfort to have girlfriends who not only know who I was before the boys, but also really know who I am now because of them.

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