These days I have to ask for affection from my kids. I have to remind them to give me hugs and kisses because I refuse to spend even a day without some sort of loving. I have to steal moments and bribe them to give me uninterrupted free reign of cuddling on the couch. And every time I turn on some boring kid's show about bunny detectives (or whatever) just to get them to lie down and snuggle with me, I remember the newborn moments I wish I could relive over and over again. I remember days without bribery, days when my biggest worry was how many times my newborn had a bowl movement, and days when I put my baby in one spot and that is where my baby remained. I remember how deeply they slept and how much easier it all was, at least compared to now.
While I had two completely different experiences with my two completely different kids, I can honestly say even the most difficult newborn moments were nothing compared to the most difficult 2nd grader moments (and, honestly, I'm sure it only gets harder). So as we are navigating this crazy life of parenting, I often take the time to look back and fondly remember the newborn life. Nostalgia is funny that way: it can smooth out the rough edges forged by sleep deprivation and that new-mom fear, creating a memory I would love to visit at least twice a week.
Some of my friends are still having babies, but I am a "two and done" mom, through and through. Still, I listen to my friends complain about the struggles of having a newborn (and trust me, I know them all) and I am tempted to tell them to try to enjoy the good moments because those never, ever come back. I don't say anything like that, though, because there is nothing an exhausted new mom hates more than being told to "enjoy it."
Instead, I reflect upon my babies when they were newborns and I remember all the moments I truly enjoyed and, as a result, wish I could relive.
When I'm helping my toddler change in the morning, all I want to do is snuggle his naked little butt. Alas, he's a "big boy" now and it would be weird (some would say) if I also got naked and held him against me. In the newborn stage, though, skin-to-skin is encouraged and recommended and I loved it. I could lie with my naked newborn cradled on my chest for hours. Feeling his tiny little body against mine temporarily cured any negative emotions I may have had and, instead, made for very peaceful moments.
Watching My Baby Fall Asleep As He Nursed
My son would suck and suck and then the sucking would slowly lose its ferociousness and slow down until it stopped and turned into phantom nursing. He'd fall asleep as he ate and when I pulled away I'd notice a slight hint of satisfaction and a stream of milk spread across his handsome little baby face.
Sometimes I would take a break from cleaning and laundry and doing the other 500 things on my to-do list and take a full nap with my newborn. Those days of long naps together are far gone, but they are forever ingrained in my memory as the sweetest time spent with my newborn.
Kissing Every Part Of My Baby
Remember the time when your newborn didn't resist your kisses like a toddler sometimes does? I do. I remember nibbling and kissing my newborn all over and he would just lie in my arms enjoying the affection. Now, every time my 3 year old runs away from my hugs saying, "Moooooom, stoooop it," I am wistful for those newborn moments.
When My Baby Would Root
All I had to do was pick my son up and he'd start looking for his food supply. I don't know exactly why (probably some biological impulse) but those moments were some of my favorite newborn moments. My brand new baby son looking for me, and my ability to give him exactly what he wanted and needed, are moments I will never forget.
My Baby Looking Up At Me
Whether it was during breastfeeding sessions or while I rocked my newborn son to sleep, when his eyes would peer up at me I'd lose myself to him all over again. That sweet recognition in his eyes, that sleepiness, and that pure love are all what true happiness is made from.
Holding My Baby
It all comes down to this, for me, honestly. Holding a newborn without any protest and for as long as I want to is now a thing of the past. Now, I'm lucky if I get 30 seconds of uninterrupted cuddle time. I would spend a lifetime holding a newborn, that feeling is just that great.
Smelling That Newborn Baby Smell
I never understood "the newborn smell" until I had a newborn. Newborns smell like pure nirvana. Holding my baby and smelling the top of his head gave me such joy and serenity I would do it all over again just for that opportunity (but I won't, because I'm done having children).
Falling Deeper & Deeper In Love Each Day
How is it possible to love someone so damn much it physically hurts and feels like everything inside of you will one day explode? The love for a child cannot be expressed adequately with words and, to be honest, one can only feel it if one is a parent. I remember gazing at my newborn and wanting to freeze time because the love was indescribable and I never wanted a single moment that made me feel that love to change.
Babies, you guys. I'm telling you, babies are powerful.