When I was pregnant with baby Stroller and when he was brand new, women everywhere told me to, "enjoy every minute of it." The advice must be pretty universal because at the same time I'd read blogs where moms bashed the "enjoy every minute of it" advice. I decided that instead of being cynical of the advice, which pre-baby would have been my norm, I'd try to embrace every minute as best I could.
I started by taking weekly photos during my pregnancy and journaling in my belly book. I was exhausted and queasy for the first 22 weeks of my pregnancy and then in pain for the last four-ish weeks, but I still enjoyed every minute of being pregnant. I tried not to complain too much, and in the end I didn't feel like I was ready for baby S to "just arrive already" until the morning of his due date -- and even then it was because that morning I scheduled an induction for 9 days later and was terrified he wouldn't come on his own.
I try to be present when breastfeeding, and even though I'll read for a bit on my phone, I usually just rock and look at baby S and feel his weight in my arms. We listen to music together and read books and just take a few minutes to slow down and enjoy our minutes.
When baby S would spit up and we'd both need a change of clothes or he has a poo-splosion and leaves me with a diap challenge, I see it as an opportunity to try out another cute outfit, or to sing a song about poos and laundry, making him laugh with funny faces.
When he woke up in the middle of the night to eat during his first few weeks, I told myself (and tried to convince Mr. S) that it wouldn't last for long. Of course I was tired, but it was ok; there would always be another nap when I could sleep. If he wakes up early now, I take him into bed with me for snuggle breakfast and we often cozy up and fall back to sleep together.
A few times a week before we leave for daycare, I'll sit baby S on my bed and we'll have a photoshoot so I can remember how he looked in some of my favorite outfits. It only takes a few minutes, but it sets the tone for the whole day: we're having fun today, we're going to remember this morning. We'll share this morning with Mamie and PawPaw and Nola and Grandpa.
I'm truly enjoying all these little moments, but I want to be able to remember them too. When I packed my hospital bag before baby S was born, I included a special little Mom's One Line a Day book.
It has space to write just a few short sentences each day, every day for five years. I pulled it out the night he was born and wrote my first entry on December 14th:
"Maddox Christopher arrived at 8:48 am 7lbs 5oz 20" long. Quite beautiful. Apgar of 8 & 9. NICU had him for the first few mins. Rest of day went well."
I keep my little pink book on my bedside table and every night before I shut off the light, I write a few things about baby S's day.
On December 31 I wrote:
"We had an excellent night's sleep last night. Maddox woke up with dad around 8 and let momma sleep more. Mom, Mamie and Maddox went to [the grocery store] and used the Bumbleride for the first time! M in Ergo with daddy during special crab dinner."
I use my book as a place to write about things that are important at the time, like how long he slept, whether he napped, who we saw and what he played with. When my maternity leave ended and I began to dress him in a different cute outfit every day, I started to include what he wore that day.
On March 25 I wrote:
"Napped for very little then spent 1.25hrs of quiet time playing with the owl hanging in the cradle! Later M fell asleep with his hand on the owl's wing. Great day lots of daddy time - snoozed in rocker together. Didn't want to go to sleep tonight. Nola & Grandpa came over. Wore train overalls w/ striped bear onesie."
Now that he's eating, sometimes I'll include a note about foods he tried for the first time, or something he devoured (like dozens of blueberries in one sitting!)
On June 6 I wrote:
"M gives me big smiles in the AM & he's so good at settling himself @ night. I (heart) him. Had sweet potatoes & oatmeal fingers for b.fast while mommy ate toast. Took Feeney for a walk & checked out trees. 1.25 hr nap. R (his daycare momma) was happy to see! Toast w/ daddy for a snack. Wore navy stripe top & navy roll-up pants. Hail storm was v. interesting."
Every once in a while I'll open my book at random and read an day's entry. It helps me remember all those minutes I was enjoying.
Were you told to "enjoy every minute of it"? Are you?