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The space between baby and boy

Tomorrow your hair might smell of boy instead of baby, that sweet scent replaced by something unfamiliar.

The space between baby and boy

We’re in it now, this space between baby and boy.


We’re teetering, delicately and precariously, a roller coaster in its graceful pause just before the plunge. It was a little rickety at first, climbing that steep, steep slope—Sleepless nights. Endless spit-up. Needless crying. I felt each click click click of the ascent. But for now, we are floating here, balancing above the next phase of your life.

With your sister, I didn’t realize it was coming.

I just woke up one morning and she was a little girl. Somehow, in one dreamless night, her ringlets grew out, her face changed, her speech solidified. I didn’t know there was a space between until it was gone.

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But with you, I recognize the signs.

I feel fortunate that I can see it this time around, grateful for the opportunity to soak in every last minute of your babyhood.

In a little while, everyone will be able to decipher your sentences. You will learn to speak in a way that even strangers can comprehend. You are already saying so much—but it is a language just for Mama, things only I know, words that only I can understand. I am your translator. I get to tell the world what you mean.

I love how you need me for that.

Soon, you’ll have opinions about your food, your friends, your clothes. You might have favorite shirts, or prefer shorts to pants, or reject every outfit I choose just because you can. But this morning, I snapped closed your onesie and you giggled at the sound. I zipped up your fleece. I had to put on your socks.

I love how you need me for that.

Any minute now, your precious drunken stagger will, almost mid-stride, turn into a run. You will learn to jump—really jump, like you pretend to when you bend your round little knees over and over, your face beaming with pride. One day your feet will leave the floor, and those baby knee-bends will be gone. You will throw farther. You will climb higher. But right now, I carry you when you stumble. I lift you onto the swings. I walk beside you on the stairs.

I love how you need me for that.

You are still utterly unselfconscious, still blissful in your you-ness. You still share, immediately and generously, everything—Toys. Snacks. Kisses. You are unburdened by the weight of your surroundings, and in this brief period of life when you have known no unkindness, you are still pure and earnest and good. No one has teased you on the playground. No one has ever hurt your feelings. You are still so innocent and unbruised.

But tomorrow, your hair might smell of boy instead of baby, that sweet scent replaced by something unfamiliar. You might wake up and hand me your security blanket and never ask for it again. And all the folds on those impossibly scrumptious baby thighs will melt away into our past.

In this in-between, you are a heartbreaking blend of attempted independence and desperate reliance.

You still hold my hand, happily and willingly, and you are not the only one who is scared to let go.

Today we went to a parent/toddler class. We took a spot in the back because you seemed wary of so much singing and dancing and clapping. At first, you just stared at all the babies, realizing, perhaps for the first time, that there was a world outside of Mama. You slid off my lap and stepped cautiously toward the music. But halfway to the front, you sensed an absence—and you turned, searching for my face, just to make sure I was still there.

I was. I am. I will be.

So while we rest here in this space between, let me test your restraints one last time before we careen downhill. Let me just make sure you’re safe. I love how you need me for that.

And you can let me know if I am holding on too hard, baby. I’m not ready—so you will have to tell me when it’s time.

For that, I need you.


This article was originally published on Michifornia Girl.


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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.


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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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