First Birthday

Today, I woke up the mother of a baby. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up the mother of a toddler.

Munchkin hasn’t acted much like a baby in a while. Sure, much of his speech is still unintelligible, but he’s able to communicate clearly. Hungry. Tired. Sleepy. Want Cheerios, not chicken noodle soup. Want breast milk, not water. Give me the phone, I hear Grandma. He’s walking, if wobbly, and he’s feeding himself (and his hair) with a spoon.

There are just two things left that make him a baby: his age and being in the infant room at daycare. Tomorrow, one will change, and as a result, so will the other. Even though I see him every single day, I have no idea how this happened. I catch glimpses of myself in the mirror as I hold him, and there are times it still catches me off guard. Me, a mother? Responsible for a child? That I grew in my own body? Absurd.

And yet, the proof is in front of me. It’s all happened so fast, and sometimes it seems I can only tell by making comparisons. Photos of baby Munchkin a few months ago compared to the small boy in front of me. How I used to take an hour to fall asleep, and how now I’m so exhausted it takes minutes, if that.

So naturally today, Munchkin’s birthday eve, I’ve been checking in with the clock and making comparisons.

7:45 am

Today, I woke up and went to work.

A year ago today, I woke up and worked from home. I half-jokingly say my managers banished me from the office the week before—rightly so, as I’d reached my due date and a round of false labor, and though there were offers, nobody really wanted to wheel me to the hospital next door in our department’s shopping cart.

4:00 pm

Today, I discussed visuals for an eLearning with a colleague.

A year ago today, I sat in my midwife’s office getting my weekly check-up. I told her I’d just been to my chiropractor, where he’d given me an adjustment that he promised would have baby out within 24 hours. “I want baby to take all the time he needs to grow,” I said by way of explanation, “but I’m getting anxious to meet him.”

9:15 pm

Today, I walked through the grocery store holding a hungry 19-pounder who kept pulling my shirt down to nurse.

A year ago today, I had a feeling that the contractions I’d had for half an hour were different from false labor. Not wanting to get my hopes up, all I told my husband and sister was that I was having contractions again. “Just in case it is real this time, I’m going to bed. If it’s real, I’ll need the rest.” They stayed up and watched TV.

10:15 pm

Today, I read a story to my son as he stood in his crib. When he got tired of the story, he pivoted to face the side of his crib and pushed the button on his mobile for Mozart, his favorite track.

A year ago today, my baby scooted down, down, down in my belly. I slept, not knowing the contractions were getting closer and stronger, or that in just two short hours, they’d be 5 minutes apart and strong enough to wake me up.

A year ago today, I woke up a pregnant woman, wondering when she’d meet her baby.

Today, I woke up a mother of an infant, listening over the monitor for fusses and coughs.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up the mother of a toddler and wonder how it all happened so fast.