tiny splendid everything

Those early days, man.

We’d wake up, my little light and I—
him cozied in the fluffiest puffs of fleece jammies, me in plaid flannels & hair undone in every direction atop my head—
and I’d snuggle him straight into my arms for his third (or fourth, sometimes fifth) breakfast.

Breakfast in bed, me leaned against the pillows with a tiny swaddle-burrito in my arms;
breakfast in his room, gently rocking in the glider and willing the furnace to kick on just a little faster;
breakfast in the living room, enveloped in the big, puffy arms of the big, red chair.

Mornings rolled into afternoons rolled into twilights rolled into two-hour stretches of night.

There’s no schedule with a newborn, you know?

He’s tiny and hungry and snuggly and sleepy and wet again,
covered in spit-up again,
needing those itty-bitty clothes changed again.

& lord but he is the most wonderful thing I’ve ever, ever done.

His entire world happens in your arms;
against your chest;
with his cheeks comfortingly squished against your shoulder;
in naps punctuated by the sweetest baby sighs and grunts;
in two-hour intervals,
in quiet-late hours, softly lit by the faint glow of the bedside clock and a streetlight through the bedroom window.

There were days where the house felt suffocating, like a self-imposed prison;
when leaving the house
(and loading the baby into his carrier, and getting the carrier to the car, and driving with him in the car, and making sure there was everything we needed in the diaper bag and making sure THAT was in the car, and what if he got hungry/needed a diaper change/wouldn’t stop crying while we were out?)
… was this giant, looming Scary Thing, rife with black holes of “what if”-s.

There were days when nursing was so, so hard.

When I’d hold my small, sweet boy in my arms and cry because feeding him hurt so, so much, and his mouth was so, so small, and it was so very, very hard to be gentle on myself.
Because I felt like I was failing him.
Because it wasn’t clicking.
Because everything hurt.

Nursing was supposed to be this beautiful, natural, easy thing, and there I was—
on the couch,
in the big red chair,
in the rocker at the hospital’s lactation consultant office;
sometimes with a Boppy and a pillow stacked on my lap,
later with no pillows on my lap,
once with the hulking beast that was the My Brest Friend pillow on my lap, before it was unceremoniously sent back—
each time with my tiny, angry baby burrito tucked into my arms, both of us just trying to figure it all out.

I felt like I was in an endless version of that magnetic fishing game, waiting for that second when the baby’s mouth was exactly wide enough to latch on.

I sat awake in the middle of the night, huddled over the glow of my phone, watching video after video & scanning article after article on proper latch, waiting for the just right, just perfect piece of information to make it all make sense.
I visited the lactation consultants at the hospital so often that I started referring to them as “the boob fairies.”

I cried.
A lot.

But we made it.

& every day is a new small victory to celebrate.

Every diaper,
every nap,
every time I watch him sleep,
every time I realize he’s grown out of a 0-3 onesie or sleeper,
every time I notice something new this beautiful little being is starting to learn and understand—
these are the itty victories weaving the story of our life together.

It’s all just one big process of getting to know each other, you know?

One day, you come home with this incredible, homemade human, and the entire epicenter of your universe shifts.

They’re learning life.
You’re learning them.

And you love them so, so much.

The way I love this baby of ours makes my heart fill up so big, I can practically feel my chest jut out a few extra inches just to make room for it.

I adore him in ways that settle straight into my soul & between my bones.

I could kiss his fluffy head, those squishy cheeks, the edges of his fingertips, that perfect little nose—
all of it, a thousand times over, and it still wouldn’t feel like enough.

I never want to forget the precious weight of him fast asleep in my arms.
The way the top of his little head smells.
How it feels to watch him sleepy-stretch in the morning.

His sounds—
oh, his sounds.
The bright-thrilled chirps, the almost-giggles;
the sleep sighs when he unlatches after eating and raises his head just enough to settle in for a boob-nap.

I love the way you can see his smiles rise all the way up from his toes and burst into the brightest, most intense sparkle of joy at the top.

Some nights, I sit on the couch with him in my arms, in the very same spot where I’d sit with my arms wrapped around my pregnant belly—
and I marvel.

Because he’s here;
that this brilliant little light is ours to keep;
that this is the spirit that chose us to be his.

Oh, how we adore you so, our tiny Nixon James-Michael.

Our tiny, splendid everything.

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About ashley!

in love, obnoxiously happy, and up to a lot of awesome.
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