When I was little there was a short span of time when the majority of my life was just my mom and me. I don’t have a lot of specific memories of that time, but I remember feeling happy and content. From the time I was very young until this very day I have considered my mom my best friend – truly my best friend in every sense of the word.
I always wanted boys growing up – lots of boys. I think boys are easier, I play better with boys, I relate better to boys, their clothes are cuter, I had a lot of practice with my brothers, and I saw myself in Jo March. But despite all this little-boy-loving, I knew I wanted at least one girl, so we could be best friends.
I knew Naomi was a girl from the moment I found out I was pregnant, and before the ultrasound tech confirmed it I had already seen it on the screen. My pregnancy, like every pregnancy, was both painstakingly slow and surprisingly fast. Her due date was February 22 and on the 20th at 7:00 p.m. I started having very regular, mild, painless contractions and I went to bed early just in case. I woke up 10 hours later feeling immediate disappointment followed by an immediate painless contraction followed by immediate excitement. I sent my husband to work, straightened the house, spent extra time with Malachi, downloaded a contraction-tracking app, put my son down for a nap, mopped the floors, did some yoga, called the nurse to find out if I needed to go to the hospital for painless contractions that were only 2 minutes apart, felt like an idiot when I showed up wondering if I was in labor to find out I was 6 cm. dilated, and 2 hours later there was the most precious, most sweet baby girl you’ve ever seen.
I was in shock at both how fast and how easy my labor was – and then I was in shock at how fast and how easy my second child was. Having a second child is so different from the first. Nursing came quickly and naturally. I recognized her different cries the first time I heard them. I watched a movie while still in the hospital with her because I didn’t have any problems and didn’t need the nurses. I laughed – laughed – when we drove away from the hospital with both our children crying buckets.
I also put her in the swing a lot, instead of carrying her around constantly. I had another child to tend to. I let her sleep in her crib instead of my arms so that I could play with her (very distraught) brother. I cuddled her and sang to her but we didn’t read as many stories or take as many pictures. I lived each moment because each was so precious and so fast – but I didn’t document as many of them. I was very content in this. Whereas Malachi’s first year felt like a series of highest highs and lowest lows, Naomi’s first year was steady, happy, and calm. Part of me hadn’t realized how very difficult it would be to get alone time with my new baby. She was happy, observant, cuddly, and sleepy. She was easy. I loved every minute with her, but those minutes flew by.
Now there are times I’d like to play or read or go somewhere just the two of us, but it’s not always possible. Naomi doesn’t care – she sits on my hip and watches what I do. Follows her brother around from her perch in the Ergo on my chest. Follows me around clapping and bouncing from room to room. She’d rather play with my kitchen tools than toys, nap than go to story-time, and sit on my lap and look at iPod photos than read a book. She loves time with just Mommy but given the choice she almost always follows Malachi anyway. She tends to tag along with me on errands and follow me while I do grown-up things. It would be nice to have more “baby” time with her. But then I remembered that the friendship I developed with my mom was built on grocery-store trips, dinner prep, and me following her everywhere no matter how mundane it was. I would rather have helped her clean the bathroom than watch TV without her. We talk nonstop and have 4 conversations at once. We yell at each other and laugh 15 seconds later. We take one car when it’s inconvenient just so we can ride together.
Naomi loves to go with me to the grocery store. She follows me when I’m cleaning the house. She jabbers all the time and I jabber right back. We get on each others nerves and I think it’s hilarious. And even though I sometimes feel guilty when I throw her on my hip and bring her with me to the kitchen instead of going to her room with her to play, she always settles contentedly and smiles at me and I realize – this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Happy (belated) first birthday to my sweet baby doll. I love how adaptable and content you are. I love your silly giggle. I love how you scrunch up your nose and whine when you aren’t happy. I love the way you bounce up and down when Noddy comes on TV. I love your rolly-polly belly that pops out of your ever-creeping shirts. I love that you are still nursing. I love the way you say “Nigh-nigh” when you are tired. I love your head of hair. I love when you give me hugs. I love how you rush to the door when Daddy comes home. I love how you think it’s funny to suck on my finger. I love how you adore your brother. I love the way you sometimes yell for no reason. I love that you smile so big every time you sneeze. I love how you fake cough to get attention. I love the way you sleep. I love how tough you are. I love that you are a dare-devil. I love how much you eat. I love the way you grin when you put on hats. I just love you. And I always will.