After hearing that actress Tiffani Thiessen misses the baby phase now that her daughter is 3 years old, I couldn't help but nod my head in agreement. Our kids grow up so fast, and the time we have with them while they're infants is priceless -- and we can never get it back.
But sadly, most of us don't realize just how precious that period in time is until we're well out of it -- or at least that has been the case for me.
I won't lie -- the first year of my son's life was HARD. I was exhausted to a point I never believed a human being could be exhausted. And I was so overwhelmed at times that I thought I'd never make it through the whole parenting thing in one piece.
And that's why I wished away so many special moments with my baby.
My mantra seemed to be, "I can't wait."
"I can't wait until he can talk and tell me what he wants."
"I can't wait until he's potty trained and I don't have to deal with diapers anymore."
"I can't wait until he eats normal food and I don't have to warm bottles or try and get the orange stains from mashed sweet potatoes off his little nose."
"I can't wait ... blah, blah, blah."
But now that my little guy is 7 going on 30 -- I could kick myself for not taking a deep breath and savoring the time when he was a baby. If time machines really existed, I'd hop into one in a heartbeat to go back to the first year of his life, and this time, I'd appreciate ALL of it. The good. The bad. And most of all, the irreplaceable stuff.
With that being said, here are eight moments I really regret not embracing a whole lot more. (Man. I had no idea just how good I had it.)
- Rocking him back to sleep -- I can't tell you how many nights I sat in the glider chair trying to get him back into dreamland -- when all I wanted to do was go back to bed myself. And now? I'd give anything to hold him in my arms and feel the warmth of his head on my shoulder and his breath on my neck. He needed me. And I needed him. I want that kind of closeness again.
- Carrying him -- Sure, my arms were tired. But when I was ready to head out the door, all I had to do was scoop him up and put him in the car. Getting him out of the house as a 7-year-old is a much bigger battle. "Just one more minute Mom!" "Can't I just finish doing xyz, Mom?" It's kind of tough to lug a 50-pounder around, so I'm outta luck in that department.
- Changing his diaper -- Yes, I actually miss diaper changes. Because even though they were a mess sometimes, I never had to frantically search for a rest stop on the highway in the middle of nowhere when he had to go. And I also never had to hop out of the shower mid-shampoo because he'd taken a poop and needed me to wipe him. (Diapers rock.)
- Getting up super early in the morning -- I saw 4:30 a.m. on the clock almost every day until he was 3 years old. But looking back on it now, waking up before the roosters was a gift -- because he'd light up like a Christmas tree when I walked into his room to get him. I know he still loves me, but nothing can touch the excitement a baby feels simply by seeing his mother coming toward him with open arms. It really is exhilarating.
- Playing with him -- It sounds so awful to say it out loud, but there were days I dreaded sitting on the floor and playing with my baby because I just wanted to take a nap or read a magazine. I really took for granted how awesome it was to make him erupt into fits of laughter simply by playing peek-a-boo or putting a couple musical toys in front of him. I swear it's 1,000 times harder to impress that kid now. If I hear "I'm bored" one more time, my head might explode.
- The days before he started talking -- Oh, how the non-verbal thing used to drive me nuts! I was convinced that life would be easier once he could communicate. And I guess in a way it is, but it also has the opposite effect, because now he has absolutely NO problem telling me exactly what he wants, when he wants it, how he wants it -- you get the idea. Crying and fussing out of frustration is so underrated.
- The luxury of riding in the car -- Going for a drive always seemed like a pain because, well, infant car seats are such a pain, particularly in winter. But I had no idea what a privilege it was to be able to jam to whatever tunes I damn well pleased because my baby didn't know the difference. Unless I'm alone, my 7-year-old controls the radio. We're in a One Direction phase right now, which is cool with me. But I hope it doesn't change to something unbearable anytime soon.
- Feeding him -- Whether it was giving him a bottle or trying to get some solids into him while he sat in the highchair and protested, there were so many times I longed for the days when I didn't have to put any effort into mealtime. But it's so much harder to get him to eat now that there are times when I really wish I could strap him back to the highchair, pour some Cheerios on his tray, and call it a day instead of trying to get him to sit still and finish his dinner. (And at least when he was having his bottle, he was cuddled up in my arms -- something else that seems to be occurring less and less with each passing year.)
Sigh. I may not miss the baby phase enough to want to have another baby. But if someone ever offered me a do-over with my little dude, I'd jump at the opportunity. And this time I'd treasure it.
Are you guilty of wishing away moments with your baby? (Don't be me!)
Image via Mary Fischer