“The first baby’s first birthday party is not a party for your baby; it’s a party for you. Sure, the baby will someday appreciate that photo of them in front of the cake with the ‘1’ candle and the photo of them taking their first bite of cake, but when a baby turns twelve months old, they really have no idea that they are even at a party, or that the party is actually for them, because their entire life seems like a party. A party for them. . .You are the one that needs the party. The baby obviously has no friends yet, so the guest list is all your friends you haven’t seen for a year. And since your friends are the guests, they will obviously need good food, good drinks, and music, and suddenly you have the recipe for a raging bash and you take the pictures of your baby in front of the cake, put them to bed, and carry on like, well, like you don’t have a baby.”
-Jim Gaffigan, Dad is Fat (163-164).
Babykins turns 1 year old today, so we’re celebrating keeping her alive by having some of our family over tomorrow. Admittedly, I dropped the ball on this guise of having a party for her while it’s really for my husband and me by not buying the “1” candle. Oops! Don’t worry, I’ll still bake a cake.
Most of my life I have been mistaken for being younger than I actually am. I’ve been told that I will appreciate this as I age, but it can still be awkward explaining that I’m actually an adult who lives with my husband (especially when I’m 8 months pregnant–true story).
When I found out I was pregnant with Babykins, a new concern arose. What if I starting looking older than my age? After all, motherhood can be hard on a woman’s body. Pregnancy and prolonged sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your youthful vigor.
However, I now know the issue of age and motherhood isn’t whether I look younger or older. It’s actually the fact that I’m too tired and distracted to remember my age.
Much of new motherhood is about changing expectations. How I envisioned my days with a baby often vastly differ from the reality. For example, I thought my darling child would peacefully drift off to sleep as I rocked and nursed her. In reality, Babykins only fell asleep if I bounced her long enough to get her into a deep sleep. Or how I envisioned calmly going about my errands with my sweet baby in tow, instead I raced through one store before Babykins completely lost her cool.
Not all of the changed expectations are bad, but takes time to learn this new way of life. Any first time mother can attest to how hard that can be. However, there are brief moments when the life I envisioned with Babykins bursts into reality, easing the burden of the more difficult times.
This happened a few days ago. We a brief spell of cool autumn weather. Warm sunshine made the cold seem cozy and a dried leaves skittered across the lawn. And there was Babykins, crawling through the grass and enjoying the fall day. I sat on the step to the front door and watched her happy exploration as I sipped my afternoon cup of coffee. She studied a leaf here, paused to listen to the wind there, and looked back with a grin to make sure I was still with her.
That moment was a snapshot of what I envisioned a year ago. Expectation met.
Correction: Expectation nearly met. I forgot to account for the fact that the scene was often interrupted with me crying out, “Babykins, don’t put that in your mouth! Icky!” Oh well, nothing is perfect.
It is an unwritten law of babyhood that food is always best when found on the floor.