Monday, April 4, 2011

Stop for a minute: baby, I'm so glad you're mine.

Well, it's been a while. Let me catch you up.

I had a baby. She is awesome.

In 13 days, Lucy will be 8 months old. Clearly I have been derelict in my baby blogging duties, but seriously; they weren't kiddin' around with all that "babies take up all your time" business. That's not to say that we haven't been having adventures, it's just that small things seem much bigger these days. We took Lucy to a Reds game last weekend, and between their victory over the Brewers and her perfect behavior, it was as though we'd completed a cross-country hike. We were extremely proud of ourselves, and of our amazing kid. Other babies may have fussed and cried and made it a terrible experience, but Lucy is clearly a superior baby. It was the biggest triumph since she started pooping with a degree of regularity.

The biggest triumph of all, though was a few months ago when she finally started sleeping through the night. I won't go into the methods by which this was accomplished, but once we hunkered down it didn't take long, and I was so happy I literally crapped my pajama pants. So now we belong to that distinguished group of families with young children, the ones with a "nighttime routine." We watch The Simpsons at 7 and 7:30. We feed Lucy a jar of nasty mashed up shit around 8. She splashes around and makes hilarious noises in her tub around 8:30. Then at 9 she nurses for a few minutes, then loses interest. I take her into her room, and as we approach the crib, she lays her head on my shoulder. I haven't yet decided if this is a ploy to buy some time before I lay her down or a genuine show of affection, but I don't really care. It's precious every time.

All the books The internet says it's important to keep this routine up, and most importantly, to let the baby fall asleep on her own. We typically follow this advice. Tonight, however, after my baby laid her head down on my shoulder, it was suddenly impossible for me to put her down. At that moment, I couldn't bear the thought of letting go of this child. Guys, I have to confess something: this baby and me are totally, 100 percent in love. Sometimes I can't even handle it. I mean seriously. Can you handle this?

So tonight, despite the "nighttime routine," I stood in Lucy's room beside her crib, and I rocked her until she was asleep, and I kept rocking her. I can't think of a less cheesy way to say this, but the fact is, as I was holding my baby, with her head against my chest and her little mouth hanging open, my heart was breaking. Today at work, I uploaded a photo of two teenage girls onto our server. Neither one of them looked anything like Lucy, or what I imagine she'll look like. Nevertheless, I couldn't help but realize that one day Lucy will be a teenager. She'll run around with her friends and kiss boys and, I don't know, eat meat behind our backs. Smoke grape cigarillos, who knows. But most importantly, she won't need me for a whole lot. And even if she does, she won't give it up easy. I know about that. I used to be a little punk, too.

So how could my heart not break, as I hold this little baby, this thing that gets bigger and smarter every minute, knowing she needs me a little less with every breath? I know that every person in the world realizes it, some over and over, but tonight I really came to know the way that time runs. I am ashamed at some of the things that I have spent my time on, now that I really know I only have so much. She's only 7 months and some change, but already I don't want to give her up.