Behind the Scenes
Happy leap day!
Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of Ari’s due date, which means the 1 year anniversary of me being sure I was ready to be a parent, waiting not-so-patiently for my baby to arrive. I thought I had done all of the preparations, taken all of the courses, and talked to enough people to really understand what I was getting into. Turns out, not so much. Nothing can prepare you for parenthood other than actually becoming a parent. Everything takes so much work. It can be great and amazing and more rewarding than anything you’ve ever experienced, but it takes so much work.
My sister Jordana got married this summer. It was the most spectacular wedding that deserves many a blog post about all the beautiful details (sorry Jordi). It was as beautiful and special and amazing as the people who were being celebrated.
A few photos from the spectacular day
Ari was just over 3 months old at the time. He came down the aisle with us, he posed for family portraits, he was there during the reception for dinner and speeches and dancing. Navin and I kept getting kudos on what an amazing baby he was. “What an angel,” people said. “What a good baby,” we heard. Well…thank you? But, no. He had never been an “easy baby”. When he was so little, I was constantly terrified of him having a meltdown and screaming at us like he did so often because of his reflux, or from being overtired because he was one of those babies who just hated sleep. Keeping him so happy and quiet that day took more work than anyone could imagine. Every time there was a 10 or 15 minute break in between pictures, or speeches, or other scheduled events, we quickly whisked him off and fed him. He was the most well-fed baby in the world that day. During the whole reception, either Navin or I had him in our arms, bouncing and swaying and shushing. Behind the scenes, it took so much work.
Ari, the tiny gentleman and party animal
My other sister Tamara had her second baby, Janna, a few months ago (which also deserves a blog post on it’s own…sorry Mara!) She is what one would consider an “easy baby” (apparently they do exist!) For her first couple of months, it seemed like all she did was eat and sleep. The phrase “sleeps like a baby” finally made sense with her around. She was so considerate that she never even interrupted her big sister’s bedtime or morning routines!
But when they had Janna’s baby naming ceremony, I saw a different side to this miraculously cooperative baby. As perfect and adorable as she looked in her beautiful dress and tiny mary jane shoes, just before heading into the hall, she pooped all over Tamara’s lovely shirt. All throughout the ceremony, I could see Tamara and her husband Will working hard to keep everyone and everything together. On the stage they stood trying to speak about the meaning of Janna’s name while trying to keep Zoey happy, while also trying to make sure Janna stayed quiet. It was a beautiful, meaningful, lovely day. But behind the scenes, it took a lot of work.
Ari had his first vacation in January when we went to the Cayman Islands. As prepared as we were, and as much thought went into packing and planning, Navin and I learned quickly that vacationing with a baby is not relaxing. It is incredibly rewarding, but not relaxing.
The 4 and 1/2 hour plane ride was full of songs and snacks and squirming in our laps. The outings and excursions were carefully planned around nap times, to maximize his wakeful window and avoid a meltdown (although even on the worst day he was so much more resilient than I would have imagined). Breaking so far out of the routine meant that things that have become just part of our day-to-day, like making sure he’s fed, rested and has time to play, were a challenge. It was amazing. It was so much fun. And it was totally worth it. But behind the scenes, it was so much work.
If you had told me one year ago how much work having a baby would be, I would have brushed you off and told you I was ready for it. But I didn’t understand. I wasn’t ready. I was ready for snuggles and diapers, but I wasn’t ready for the sleepless nights and the stress of not being able to soothe my crying baby and the anxiety of worrying about everything. You can’t understand until you’re in it. And things do get better. They do start to sleep through the night and entertain themselves. And you do gain confidence and worry a little less as time goes on. When he’s shaking my pill bottle like a maraca, or playing happily with a plastic bag for 20 minutes I think to myself “well, I might not win parent of the year for this, but he’s happy (and supervised), so I’m okay with it.” Because behind-the-scenes, everything takes so much work and it’s okay to take a little break!
I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I was expecting my little man. He has been so much work, but so much reward. Every giggle, every smile, every time he learns something new, it’s all worth it. As much as I couldn’t have understood how much work having a baby would be, I also couldn’t have imagined how much I would love him.
Busy as life is with Ari in our lives, it’s nice to take the time to reflect on our journey together, during these final days of his first year.