Returning to the Baby Stage

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I’ve heard it said that everyone has a stage of parenting they’re best suited to. For some it’s the baby years, for some the toddler years, and for some very brave people, it’s the teenage years.

I’m not a baby person. It’s something I don’t voice often, being a parenting blogger, but I’ve never been overly maternal, and I really struggled with the first year of motherhood. The lack of interaction in the early days I found really difficult to deal with, and the constant instruction from health visitors to ‘play’ with your baby I have to admit that I found baffling. When all you can do is put them on a playmat and wave things in front of them, there’s not too much playing to be had. That’s not to say I didn’t make an effort, and I certainly talked to Max and played with him a lot, but it didn’t come naturally to me. I’m sure the sleep deprivation and the constant crying made everything harder to deal with too!

And throughout that I would hear people telling me “enjoy every minute”, “it only gets harder”, “just wait until he’s crawling / walking / talking – then you’ll have your hands full!”

But once Max started walking, and then being more able to communicate, I found that everything started to get easier. I suspect a big part of things with Max was that he needs a lot of attention and stimulation. Everyone would comment when he was a baby as to how alert he was, and he steadfastly refused to switch off and sleep during the day – it was as if he didn’t want to miss out on anything. Once he could move to where he wanted, and explore the things that caught his attention, life was so much easier. And then once he could express his likes and dislikes in a more complex way than simply crying, everything got a whole lot easier again!

I’ll fully admit that I’ve loved the toddler years – the unbounded enthusiasm for exploring new places, the joy they find in the little things. It’s opened my eyes up to so much of the world that would have normally just passed me by. The dandelions and daisies picked from the grass and presented like a bouquet – “for you mummy!” – and the search for the perfect stick or stone. And seeing their emotions develop as they learn what it is to feel happiness, sadness, pain, love, and anger. The arms flung around your neck as they snuggle into you. The moment when you arrive at nursery for pick up and they come running over shouting “mummy!” And yes, of course, the anger is a tough one during the toddler years, but I’ve found handling it to be easier than I expected – and Max can throw a mean tantrum when he’s in the mood! I seem to have levels of patience that I never even suspected I possessed, but ultimately, it’s easier to handle when you get the payoff of the lovely moments too. I suspect that the toddler stage is the stage of parenthood that I’m best suited to.

 

Max waving dandelion clock head

 

The thought of returning to the baby days does make me rather nervous. But this time around I won’t be alone during the days; I’ll have Max to keep me company. But more than that, I’ll know that the baby stage is just that, a stage, and there will be another one just waiting around the corner. And those baby days fly by before you know it – as much as I resented the people who would say “enjoy every minute”, I now understand what they were getting at. The years fly by more quickly with each one, and although I’m sure I won’t enjoy every minute, I hope that I can find in the midst of the baby haze the moments that make it all worthwhile – the first smiles, the sleepy cuddles, the giggles.

 

Pink Pear Bear
12 Comments
  • Halina
    May 10, 2017

    Oh man, I couldn’t agree more. The baby days with Tom were hideous, and they MADE me hideous. Once he could walk and talk I gelled with him so much more, and became so much more relaxed and a general happier person. I’ve loved seeing him grow, and every single year has just been fantastic for both of us since he hit those major milestones! That being said, I’m sure that this time, knowing how fast it all goes, I’ll try to soak up the baby period as much as possible. I think you’ll surprise yourself this time round x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      May 10, 2017

      That’s it exactly – I hated the person I became during that time! I’m definitely someone who needs my sleep and it’s not a pretty sight when I don’t get it for months on end. I think there’s definitely something to be had in the realisation of all those amazing moments that lie ahead, and knowing how quickly the time flies by – I totally understand where all the ‘enjoy every minute’ comments come from now!

  • Laura @dearbearandbeany
    May 10, 2017

    I’m the same Katy I much prefer the toddler days. Give me a tantrum over the sleep deprivation anytime. I also found the baby days easier the second time around. As really you just carry on with the same routine you had before, but you have a newborn strapped to you and have to stop more to feed them. But I went out more because I needed to entertain Alice. Plus Alice entertained Holly, she was more than happy to wave the toy in front of her. I call the first year a rollercoaster and gave myself a pat on the back to get to the end of it. x

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      May 11, 2017

      That’s true – I know I didn’t take Max out as much as we go out these days. And if I did, it was more likely to be a coffee shop / shopping trip than the more outdoor things we do now, and I do definitely notice the difference to my mood in getting properly outside. I’m really hoping Max will be like Alice and want to help ‘play’!

  • The Mama Story
    May 10, 2017

    I think I like the preschool / starting school stage best. That may change! I’ll be honest to say I found the newborn baby and toddler juggling truly awful to begin with. I felt like I was mothering neither well and was extremely torn. The baby ended up back in hospital at 5 days old as she had lost too much of her birth weight and had picked up an infection. I think I cried for the whole time she was there as I felt so guilty and missed my big girl so much too. The baby didn’t latch on for 8 weeks so I expressed milk and felt guilty for both her not feeding and spending the time to express. Then the toddler decided that she finally was ready to potty train (possibly for attention) so I had the baby struggling to get on the boob and the toddler weeing everywhere. Anyway, it did get a lot better and that early phase feels like a dream now 3 years later. The two girls are the best of friends and the big one can’t remember a time when her little sister wasn’t there. I am sure you will be fine – lots of luck and take all offers of help that are offered!

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      May 11, 2017

      Thanks for saying so Sian – the feeding side of things does worry me. The amount of time I invested in getting breastfeeding going with Max (and then again every time there was a growth spurt) was huge, and I question whether I’ll be able to do that again. Thankfully we’ve sorted the potty training, but I suspect that the division of attention will hit Max quite hard. I fully intend to ask for help this time around!

  • Mary Ligon Spann Peterson
    May 10, 2017

    I’m with you… infancy can be difficult. I am finding that I enjoy each stage that comes around better than the last, as you have! With improved communication skills comes lessened frustration – for everyone. And personalities only grow, which adds to the fun!

    Now that you have more perspective on early childhood, I bet you will fall right into the infancy stage like an old pro! Best of luck!

    • Katy | Hot Pink Wellingtons
      May 11, 2017

      Oh I really hope so Mary! Although I’m sure the new baby will have his own new challenges to work with – life would be no fun if they were all the same!

  • Mrs Tubbs
    May 15, 2017

    I wasn’t keen on the baby stage either. Endless crying, vomiting and poo combined with no sleep … But it is just a stage that passes quickly. The Tubblet was a brand new person very quickly – and that was great fun! Good luck

  • Heather Burnett
    May 16, 2017

    Hey! I didn’t particulary care for the baby stage either! You are not alone! That does not make you a bad mother! It passes! Sweet pictures! #thebigpinklink

  • This Mum's Life
    May 16, 2017

    You’re definitely not alone in your trepidation of returning to the baby stage-I know most of my friends were the same! And I don’t think there’s any shame in admitting you haven’t enjoyed certain stages either! I actually loved the baby stage, and I’m found on a regular basis saying that I’d do it again over toddlers/threenagers any day! I haven’t enjoyed ages 2 and 3 AT ALL!! The eldest is now 4, which seems much better, and I’d be lying if I said I hope the now 3 year old will be better when he gets to 4 also (knowing my luck, he will stay a monster…!) And like you say, the baby bit really is over quickly! Good luck, I’m getting excited for you!
    #bigpinklink

  • Absolutely Prabulous
    May 17, 2017

    It’s so relative isn’t it? I’m sat here thinking oh God I don’t miss the toddler days! Actually nothing to do with behaviour or anything as they were all absolute angels and no challenge. The challenge is that I too am not an earth/naturally maternal whatever it’s called mother and just found the early years hard. Much happier now mine are 7, 10 and 13! I salute you having the energy for the discovery/walks etc. I wasn’t great at that. Lovely to hop over to your blog again. Hope you’re well. #bigpinklink

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