The first few weeks of Connor's life I would ask any experienced parent that crossed my path "Does it ever get easier?" The note of desperation in my voice varied in pitch depending on the day and how much sleep I HADN'T gotten the night before. Some people would smile indulgently and tell me "Yes", but most would look down at their older children, who watched their parents curiously interested to hear the answer, and told me "No...it doesn't get easier" or, the kinder ones would say "It doesn't get easier, but the challenges change." I regarded the little bundle in my arms, who was completely dependant upon me for every need, and felt both overwhelmed and helpless. How could I possibly be up for this huge task? Other people manage it everyday, evidenced by the fact that there are so many people in the world. Why did I feel so beaten by such a small person?
This weekend I sat in the floor of the nursery playing with Connor, and I realized suddenly that I was enjoying myself. A few weeks(or was it months?) I lay in the same floor shaking, squeaking, rattling, and crinkling toy after toy, drifting in a haze of exhaustion, silently begging Connor to stay entertained just a few moments longer...and I think that in some way he had to know that I was just dialing it in, because he never seemed content to just sit and play this way.
And then, here we were, each of us sitting over one of those noisy toys that has things you can twist, poke, bop, etc. He was amazing me by mimicking all of my actions. I pressed the big button and he followed suit. I bopped one of the bobbles and he looked surprised for a moment, and then bopped it too. I flicked the spinner and, as though he was noticing it for the first time, he grabbed it and tried to make it spin. Every few minutes he would look up at me and reward me with a HUGE gummy grin. I couldn't help but smile back.
As messy as the house is right now, I'm managing to beat the mess back a little at a time. Connor plays by himself more and more often and I have a chance to run and throw a load of clothes in the laundry or put some dishes in the dishwasher. I don't have to do everything once he goes to sleep now, so I get to bed a little earlier...and since he has a sleep schedule, I am actually able to get enough sleep most nights that I can function properly the next day.
Now that he is sitting up, he loves the bi-weekly trips to the grocery store and he's getting to the point where he can put his own paci in his mouth.
Without me noticing it, all of a sudden things are easier. There is a pleasant, predictable rhythm to work days, and a host of opportunity for fun and adventure on the weekends.
As much as I am enjoying him now, I have to say, I am looking forward to the new developments around the corner. One day soon when he is looking at me with one of those inscrutable expressions, I'll ask him what he's thinking about and he'll actually be able to tell me!
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