It seemed like everyone told me that the first year of motherhood was the hardest – if you could survive the first year, the rest would just flow in such a beautiful and organic way based on the solid foundations you had built during those first months. In my sleep-deprived, not sure of anything post-partum months, that seemed a logical and comforting argument. After all, I didn’t know a thing about caring for a brand new baby. If I could make it through the first 365 days, it appeared anything afterwards would be attainable.
Ha! I think parents tell new parents this same line to make them feel better about the understandable insecurities that come home from the hospital with your new bundle. But in all honesty, newborns are pretty simple to take care of. They make few demands (food, warmth, a cuddle for attention, a new diaper, put me down already so I can sleep in peace) and aren’t really getting into much trouble. As I begin to see a foreshadowing of the toddler tantrum months to come in peanut’s stomping, pouting and urgent demanding, I realize the first year was nothing! (And I’m sure there are parents of teenagers and grown children (hi mom!) who are sitting back and laughing as they think on the joys of adolescence that await me in a little more than a decade).
Recently, however, I’m beginning to become overwhelmed with some of the changes peanut is making that I feel either unprepared for or completely incompetent to handle. Case in point, yesterday, on peanut’s 15-month birthday (WHAT?! Pour me a glass of wine.), we took him for his first haircut. I had been dreading this task for who knows what reason the last couple of weeks as I realized it was time. The little blonde curls peanut was growing in the back melted me every morning (even if they were totally uneven), but the scraggly pieces in the front that just wouldn’t stay put were becoming an issue. Finally, this weekend, I bit the bullet and we headed over to Snip-its.
As always, peanut was not intimidated by the situation at all. He sat in the chair by himself, didn’t flinch when she put the little drape on him and sat pretty still throughout the entire cut, content to watch the other kids in the shop and completely ignore the cartoons the stylist put on to distract him (although I do think the hubby enjoyed them!). I, however, cried. How embarrassing. I still don’t know why this hit me so hard. I can’t look at the locks they put in a plastic baggie for me without welling up (because of course I kept them!). It’s ridiculous and I know it, but for some reason this particular milestone was difficult – as if cutting his hair was as precious as cutting the cord. Peanut received a certificate of bravery for showing courage during his first haircut and I felt like I should have gotten one, too (seriously, pour me another glass of wine).
On top of the haircut, peanut’s enamored with trying to use a fork and spoon when he eats. It doesn’t usually go well in terms of getting the food into his mouth, but the effort’s there and he’s having a blast trying to scoop and stab his dinner. And I’m in pre-school drama land. To send him when he’s two (ie, next fall) or not? Where to send him (is there a pre-school directory like a college directory? how about guidance counselors for pre-school?)? What do you mean applications are due soon? (Sheesh. Just give me the bottle and a straw.)
This growing up fast thing is such a cliche and so unforgivably true. I just wish I felt like I was growing at the same rate as my little guy so I could keep up, at the very least. The good news is I’m doing my damnedest to heed the advice of experienced parents to enjoy each moment. The bad news, that doesn’t leave a lot of time to figure out pre-school. I suppose there are worse things.
Like realizing that peanut will have to get his hair cut again.