To the New Parent…I Was You

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As I was walking into Toys R Us today I happened to look over and notice a couple heading in just behind me.  They were brand new parents, made evident by the gingerly waddle the mom took, with her husband holding onto her arm helping her traverse the parking lot, new baby in the carseat.  I took that same walk a little over 2 years ago, with the entrance to the store feeling like miles away as I took each painful step.

I feel like that trip to Babies R Us, days after bringing home babies, is a rite of passage for new parents.  You are deer-eyed and in a state of shock over what is happening at home and with your body.  Heading out to the store desperate to get that thing that is going to miraculously fix whatever crisis is happening at your house, usually having to do with sleep.   For us it was something to prop the boys up because they were having issues with reflux after eating, which inevitably would help them sleep better, right?  For my brother and sister-in-law it was the Twilight Turtle.  I wondered what it was for these new parents? It was a mixture of relief to get out of the house, even for a brief period of time, and fear that the trip was taking too long and the babies would be melting down or starving to death at home.

So much went through my head as I briefly took in those new parents.  A twinge of sadness for time gone by.  There is something so inherently special about those first few weeks home with such a tiny human.   And yet, I know I can only write these words now that time has passed.  I can remember those first few weeks as cozy days spent in bed with us getting to know each other.  Babies bunched up against my chest.  But in actuality, it was quite different from the memory.  I was a disaster the first few weeks home.  It was like a truck smashed into my body dismantling my brain and leaving a trail of blood behind me for weeks.  I remember people talking to me and myself either crying or desperately trying to form a sentence but unintelligible ramblings falling out of my mouth.

It is funny how we romanticize the newborn stage when we see a new parent, maybe it’s because we will never be that again.  Whether we have more children or stop where we are, those beginning days as a new parent are one of the “first’s” in life that leave a lasting imprint on you and will never be repeated again.  That is probably where the feeling of longing for a newborn baby comes from, the knowledge that it will never happen again.

That couple and I split off in different directions once we entered the store, them to the baby section and I to the toy section to buy some tools for our playdough activity that we would be doing later that day.  Because that is the stage we are in now. A time of independence where I don’t question what I am doing every minute of the day, just a few times a week. A time where I am getting some sleep and a meal once in a while.  I am not going crazy to suggest that it is all easy peasy in the 2 year told twin phase, however, it is certainly not as much a struggle as the newborn phase.  I am grateful to have experienced it but also grateful I don’t have to go back.

As we parted company, this new mom and I, I gave her a small smile of understanding and acknowledgment of what she was about to undertake and then sent her a silent, loving, welcome to the club.

Happy Belated Birthday

twins celebrating 2nd birthday

As summer is coming to its end, I can’t help but feel that it was a whirlwind of time quickly gone by. I feel like I am constantly playing catch up and my to do list keeps getting longer.   

Our summer began with a birthday. Two years ago I gave birth to twin boys, tilting my world on its axis and warping time at an incredible pace. It is hard to believe we are celebrating two years with them on earth.

Able to Enjoy

Thankfully, this year was not as much of a blur as the first.   Where the first year of our lives together was mostly about survival and problem solving, this past year has been about falling in love.

It is not that I didn’t love them when they were infants but I was so consumed with trying to get through each day and figure out what the hell I was doing.   Year two has been so much easier, allowing me to sit back a bit more and watch them become who they are. It has been overwhelming and awe-inspiring in the most joyful way.   It is a gift to watch a human being develop into a person who is joining our community more and more every day.

In Awe 

I still marvel at what they have accomplished in the span of 1 year. It is far more than basically everyone else I know. In 365 days they learned to walk, run, jump, ride their bikes and dance in a strange sort of gyrating fashion.

We went from “mama” & “owl” to word after word after word, them greatly absorbing more and more. I will never lose sight of the power of watching someone go from knowing nothing about language to fully speaking and understanding everything I say to them. They learned their colors and their letters. The moon and the sun. Every animal sound, including some I had to make up, because learning the basics was not enough.

Transitions 

They turned a year and soon had to let go of things that brought them such comfort.  Gone were the pacifiers, the bottles and their diapers.  They use the potty, which was no small feat.  They trusted me and I trusted them and they let go of the safety of those things that brought them security and comfort and began walking into the “big kid” world with grace and trust. 

They traveled across the country and back twice like well-traveled pros…well almost but who hasn’t really had some sort of meltdown on a plane. They greet each new experience with a genuine mix of excitement and nervousness but willing to try it all.

The human being is amazing to watch develop. It truly is something so powerful to watch a being go from zero to a walking and talking person, and these two are no exception.

Personalities Starting to Shine Through

Beyond all the motor and physical skills they have accomplished in 1 year it is who they are that has been the real gift.   In a sense, they came into the world as one but it is quite clear they are their own person.  

Kellan has no fear, he will climb a tree, run down a hill, jump into a pool in a heartbeat.   Atlas seems to sense there is some danger to those things, however, once he has accomplished it he will keep going until he has mastered it.   Atlas seems to enjoy problem solving, he likes to watch how something is done and then tries to master it on his own. Kellan is a more peripheral learner. I am always shocked when he does something because most of the time I have never even seen him attempt it.

Thankfully, they both have a sense of humor. Atlas likes to pretend to do things that are funny or make a funny face for a laugh. He likes to plan the joke. Kellan is naturally a goof ball. He is constantly putting on a show and yet, hasn’t a clue how funny he is. Atlas is truly agreeable where Kellan is sincerely dramatic. They are both gentle and sweet and follow directions shockingly well for 2 year olds.

Grateful

I love what this past year has been and sometimes feel like my heart might burst when I watch these two little boys blissfully navigate their way through life.

Even now, in these few shorts months of summer, they have taken age 2 by storm. My admiration for them is building and building and I am realizing it will probably limitless. So as I try to hang on to each moment, I still can’t help be excited about seeing who they are now continue to grow into who they will be in the future.

 

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