If you read this post from the other week, you may have a sense that it’s been a stressful time for our family. Two weeks later and Michiko is well, we’ve found wonderful, new childcare, and life is returning to normal. That week however, felt so long. We both took time off to take care of Michiko and monitor her. We worked out some emergency childcare with a friend. Then, fortune turned toward us and a colleague’s former nanny was opening up an in-home daycare that week.
In a flurry of emails, phone calls, and meetings, it all worked out and last week was Michiko’s first week there. She’s doing great. We’re getting used to packing up and dropping her off in the mornings instead of having someone come to our house. But that week, it felt like the days stretched on and on. Tension coiled my shoulders up and each day was exhausting. When I look back, it was only two weeks ago, it seems like that week occurred far in the past. I’m not sure what the basis is for that, but it’s strange. Was it just such a stressful time that one copes by distancing one’s self from it?
There are moments when I’m secretly happy to hear my daughter cry. It means she’s awake. It means I need to rock her to sleep, to hold her in my arms while she’s still so tiny.
I don’t like it when my daughter wakes up in the middle of the night, usually on her tummy, bewildered at being awake. However, I do like the weight of her little body in my arms, how her head nestles under my chin, the sounds as she slips back into sleep, small breathes in her darkened room.
I like these moments, because I know they can’t last. I know she’ll get bigger. I know she won’t wake up like that and need me in the middle of the night. I know these last five months have gone so fast and the next five years will speed by as well.
And so, I hear her wake and head into her room. I scoop her little body up and she immediately relaxes. I smell her hair. Feel her nestle in. A fluttery hand like a chickadee alights on my shoulder and I sway her back to sleep. The hum of the white noise machine is in the background. She yawns. I sit in the rocking chair and hold her. Minutes go by as she sleeps in my arms. I think I can hold her forever, or at least through the night. Then I lay her back in her crib, say goodnight and rest a hand on her tummy and chest. Her arms are stretched above her and her legs are angled out. There’s so much peace here. I close the door and head back to bed. I hope she doesn’t wake back up. And yet I do. ∞
Time becomes different as a parent. Michiko is six and a half weeks old. She changes each day. A weekend arrives, it’s like coming up for breath from the river of dog walks, work, dinner, a few hours in the evening together, and sleep. Then it’s the week again, a blur, moments strung together like blinking while riding the teacups at a fair: lights, people, movement, shut your eyes, a different snapshot, similar but not the same. It’s a pattern, a motion. What happened to this week? Where did it go? It’s in the yawns of a baby girl, the smell of laundry hung up to dry, walks when the sun is either rising or falling in the horizon. ∞