After 9 months of noting the tiny growth of a poppy seed, to a lime, to a bell pepper, to a sweet perfect baby: our son was born. He came into the world at 8:23pm on Saturday, August 1st. In the past few days, we’ve learned to love deeper, to commit more fully, to slow down and pay attention to small sounds and gestures like a tiny finger curling tightly around ours, or the whisper of a sweet coo from our baby after only a few hours on earth. Life is good. Better than good, life is beautiful with Felix in it.
We’ve spent nearly 200 hours of smelling his sweet head, waking and sleeping according to his schedule, and learning as we go along. We are far from experts. In fact, parenting reminds me of wandering around in the dark, gently feeling our way through. But in one week, here are a few lessons Felix has taught us:
- 3am is a magical hour to fall in love: I used to avoid anyone interested in 3am flirting- but our son is changing my mind. When the whole world is sleeping, and the lights are dim, and the only sound in the world is the plaintive cry of a 6lb ball of cuteness- it’s hard to resist. We’ve been discovering that 3am is actually a perfect time to fall head over heels for our sweet boy as we rock him back to sleep.
- Opposites can be true at once: we celebrate the growth and development of our son every hour even as we feel the small sting of grief… he’ll never be this young again! I found myself tearing up when his newborn jammies were tight this morning- just moments after celebrating the new strength in his neck as he strains to lift his head and the wide look in his eyes when he woke up on his 8th day of life.
- Sleep when the baby sleeps: yes, every parent told us this. Yes, it is a complete cliché. And yet, it took us until day 5 to realize when Felix wakes up for a feeding at 9am and then goes immediately back to sleep- we do NOT need to stay up, drinking coffee, and watching him take a luxurious late morning nap! After 5 nights on less than 3 hours a night of rest, we finally decided to take the advice of the generations of parents before us and just give in to the odd, unconventional sleep cycle of a newborn. This means we are sleeping from 10am to 2pm some days, or 5pm to 9pm. We follow the cues of our son and when he decides it’s time to rest- we agree- and we all sleep.
We still don’t know how to perfectly put on a diaper. Everyone who’s met Felix has been peed on at some point so far. We are still trying to translate the different cries and appeals of our boy- and who knows if we will ever do a good swaddle. I imagine the learning will continue his whole life.
Luckily, as we sort through the delightful chaos of these first moments, my parents have been visiting and helping out. Not only did we become parents on August 1st, we watched my parents transform into grandparents for the very first time. They arrived one hour after Felix was born.
We watched as they embraced this little being. Immediately, their eyes welled with tears. They began to whisper their hellos to him, introducing themselves as the ones who would love him unconditionally and spoil him rotten. They shared their plans with him: we’ll go to the beach together, we won’t miss a single milestone, we’ll always be here for you when mom and dad need a break…
One of the great gifts of becoming a parent is repeating your life’s experiences with a new lens. Though I cannot remember it: through Felix, I witnessed my parents’ ability to love and adore a baby. I had the opportunity to journey back with them to the time they cared for me and whispered to me in the same way they now love on my son. I was able to see their attentiveness, faithfulness and devotion to new life in the family.
This is a sacred time- an unforgettable, meaningful, beautiful moment in the life of our family.
But now, Felix is telling me: it’s time to go to sleep.