Parenting a newborn is like playing a weird, exhausting guessing game. For the most part, all they do is eat, poop, pee, cry, and sleep. It's impossible to communicate with them, so you soothe their cries, fill their tummies, and lull them to sleep, hoping your efforts will assuage their discomfort or anger. It takes some time to decipher their coos and cries, but when you do you'll start to notice the ways your baby is trying to say "thank you," long before they're actually able to say the words.
Trust me when I say that a day will come when your exhausting, needy, adorable, but overwhelming baby will start showing you their gratitude, and when that day comes you will feel all the things. You'll start to notice that your baby wants to be held all damn day long, which can be so exhausting but also their way of saying, "Thanks, mom! A solid snuggle is just what I needed." They'll smile the moment they look at you, reach for you when you come into view, and cry when you walk out of the room. They will demand you — and no one else — at bedtime. The first time they say "mama" will break you in the best possible way.
Being a mom is often a thankless job. As your kids grow, and learn how to use their words to tell you how they feel, you probably won't get all the credit or thanks you deserve. So, while you can, you should definitely watch for all the ways your baby is trying to say "thank you," before they are able to say anything at all.
When You Are Their Lovey
I both love and hate the newborn days when all my babies want is to be fed, held, and use my boob for a pacifier. The good (and bad) news is that while these days and nights feel like they last forever, they actually don't. In the meantime, try to view your baby's need to touch you at all times as a sign of their profound gratitude.
When They "Finally" Sleep Through The Night
Sleep training is a labor of love. While logically you know that your baby is ready to learn how to soothe themselves and fall asleep without being fed, rocked, or snuggling in your bed, it's so hard to hear them cry. So, when they finally figure it out, that first night of uninterrupted sleep is like the best "thank you gift" ever.
When They Burp Or Fart
Burping a baby can be an exercise in futility. The same goes for helping them pass gas. When your little one is uncomfortable, you'll try anything to help them out. So, yeah, it kind of feels like a big thank you when it happens.
When They Bring You A Clean Diaper
After months of continual diaper changes, I have to admit it's pretty sweet when your baby brings you a diaper, as if to say, "Thanks for wiping my butt, mom."
When They Smile So Big
Baby smiles are the best, especially the first time they smile at you and it's not just a reflex or gas bubble. It's enough to make you feel like the best mom on the planet.
When They Cry When You Leave The Room
Separation anxiety is the worst. Each of my babies has gone through periods where they cry when I walk out of the room, drop them off at daycare, or even just leave their line of sight. To make myself feel better, I try to view their tears as them trying to say, "You are always there for me, and no one compares to you."
When They Actually Eat The Food You Prepared
Feeding kids can be a challenge, from their first bite of solid food to vegetables to a meal that is large enough to actually sustain them. It never really gets better, I'm sad to say. So yeah, when your baby gladly eats that can of baby food you offer them, you should definitely take it as a huge thank you.
When They Offer You A Hug
Baby snuggles are the best, especially when they offer them up unsolicited. The first time your baby hugs you will make you feel like you are doing great.
(And you totally are, by the way.)
When They Reach For You
While my baby hasn't actually said the words "thank you" yet, I think the first time he communicated the sentiment was early one morning when he reached for me from the comforts of his crib. He was clearly telling me that he was grateful that I came into view.
When They Vomit All Over You
Parenting is gross, ya'll. A fact that is never more clear then the moments when you are forced to catch vomit with your hands, hair, or mouth. Trust me, though, your baby appreciates you so much, that they vomit all over you.
When They "Finally" Stop Crying
There's nothing like that feeling when you finally figure out why your baby is crying and being able to make them feel better. Their silence is really all the thanks you need.
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