Owen is 193 days old today. That's six months and some change. But now I kind of wanna start saying that in the way some parents say their children are 47 weeks old instead of, like, "almost one."
But I sort of get it, you know? We spend the entirety of our pregnancies counting everything in weeks. Weeks and days. For example, Owen was born at what we call "36 and 4" in pregnancy speak. Thirty-six weeks and four days. Every milestone is a week. Twenty weeks. Thirty weeks. Whenever the hell the first trimester ends -- 12 weeks? 13 weeks? 14 weeks? Who makes up these rules? Who knows?
Point being: our brains are hardwired to count weeks. Owen turned eight weeks old several days before officially turning two months old on November 29. One day, when my mom asked how many weeks Owen had reached, I said eight.
"Well, so he's two months old..." she replied.
BUT NO, YOU GUYS. EIGHT WEEKS IS NOT TWO MONTHS OLD. I was obsessed with exactly how old he was on any given day, very much like how I was obsessed with how far along my pregnancy had progressed each week.
But now I've completely lost track of weeks (27 weeks and four days, I just checked) and know he'll be seven months old on April 29. So now when people ask, he's "six months old." Forever. Until he's seven months old. Or eight. You get the point.
UNLESS I'M LOOKING AT THE COUNTDOWN APP ON MY PHONE. Because then I know he's 193 days old. I also know I've been married for 298 days. Today is day 1,345 of my Instagram #HappyStreak and Todd first kissed me on a street at bar time 703 days ago.
In case you're taking notes in your diary about the minute details of my life. You're welcome.
I'm sorry, you'll never get those eight paragraphs of your life back.
Anyway. Here's the thing: I'm slowly becoming many of the things I never expected to become as a mom. I'm obsessed with my kid. Not that parents shouldn't be. But I no longer have Instagram. I have "Photos of My Baby... gram." I didn't expect to enjoy breastfeeding. I love it. I'd love to breastfeed for a year, but already I know it'll be a mourning process when the time comes to an end. Whenever that times comes.
I don't like leaving him. I'd rather just be home with him at all times. I already find myself reminiscing about his infancy. He was so small! He's grown so fast! I have a really strange aversion to the phrase "stop growing up!" because do people realize the alternative is to NOT GROW UP? I take it very literally. But I get it. However, I do wish time would slow down. He's growing so fast. Grow up, my baby, do grow. But grow slower. I miss his babyhood already, and he's still in it.
I fully expected the sleep deprivation to kill me once I had a baby. I thought, for sure, I'd die. To be fair, I'm basically a walking zombie. But... I'm used to it. My existence is just sort of adjusting to this new way of life. He's still waking two to three times a night these days (sigh), but I don't mind the moments I get to soothe him back to sleep because he does go back to sleep very well. And one night in the last month, while he tucked his perfectly-round head into my neck and clutched my shirt with his tiny hand as he fell back asleep, I cried. Not because I was tired... well, maybe I was tired... but because I love him so damn much. He's going to grow up so fast, and I know I only have these tiny, sleepy moments for so long. Eventually he'll be a child. And look, children are okay, but babies are supreme beings.
Pregnancy threw me for a loop because it was unexpected. But motherhood is a whole new unexpected surprise. Who am I now? I PUREED SWEET POTATOES, YOU GUYS. He's started to dabble in foods in recent weeks, and it's been a slow-going process. He likes it okay, but he's still getting the hang of how to do it. I'd say about 60 percent ends up in his stomach while 40 percent ends up on his face. Much like how I eat.
He's great at rolling over these days, though he prefers only one direction. He sits up well in his Bumbo, but doesn't quite have the strength to sit up without help on the floor. He grabs his toys, he grabs his feet, he grabs my hair. He shrieks and squeals, for fun. Regularly. I'm certain his first word will actually be screamed. He's happy as hell most of the time, and smiles with his entire head when someone greets him. Anyone. He loves people -- especially his mom and dad, naturally. And grandma and grandpa.
His head smiles cure everything.
His head remains gloriously round and large. At his six-month checkup, he had grown to 18 pounds, 6 ounces, and 27 inches long. I can barely fathom a time when he weighed less than seven pounds.
He still has shockingly blue eyes and a head full of fuzz. I don't know who he most resembles right now, but I get irrationally fretful when people insist he looks exactly like his dad. Someone said this to me incredibly early on and I cried all the way home from the hospital. A few days after he was born, while he was still in the NICU, I'd shared a newborn photo of myself to compare with a photo of Owen. I saw so much similarity, and the pride gushed from my insides. And then:
"I want to see a baby photo of Todd. I see much more Todd in there."
Here's a tip, world: when a woman is days -- literally just days -- from birthing a baby, just fucking lie to her. In fact, lie to her for months. While she's still puffy and sore and bleeding and wrecked and overtired and emotional, and she's so proud of this tiny person she just pushed (or had removed!) from her very own, war-torn body, GIVE HER SOME GRACE. Let her have that moment to feel like maybe -- just maybe -- all the hard, physical, literal labor she just endured -- FOR NINE MONTHS -- resulted in a small person who resembles her in any small way.
Do you know who did all the manual labor to get that child into the world? MOM DID. The nicest thing you can do in that moment is say, "Holy shit! Baby has your eyes!" ... even if the eyes are the wrong color. Just do her this one solid, okay?
Even if baby looks nothing like mom, lie. At the very least, don't argue with her. If she thinks her baby looks like herself, don't "well, actually" that shit.
DO NOT MANSPLAIN MY BABY TO ME, OKAY?
Real talk: this is really hard for me. Owen is my only child. He'll probably remain my only child. I hold so many tiny details dear throughout this whole process because I know it's my only chance at parenthood. Of course Owen looks like Todd. And me. We are his parents. He's made up of both of our genes. But, "oh my god he looks just like Todd!" always makes me feel dismissed. Todd's got two kids. I made one of them. I cling to anything I can because if he gets two kids that get to be his clones, I'll cry. I swear I'm the biological parent to one of those kids, you know? IT WAS HARD WORK.
I make up for this irrational insecurity by chanting "mama" in his ear on a regular basis so, if nothing else, his first word will be "mama."
Shhh. It's fine.
So, 193 days into motherhood, and I'm still learning about myself. And Owen. And Todd, really. Having a baby is all fun and games until you're emotional and sleep-deprived and overprotective. Moms go through the wringer physically and mentally with the birth of a child, but the other parent has to Handle It. Capital letters. They have to handle the overflow of neuroses and emotions. Todd does a damn fine job delicately managing life with an exhausted and insecure wife, a baby, a 6-year-old, and a wild dog. We all need a few pointers and hand-holding through the process, but we do the very best we can. That's all we can do.
Good job, us.
Surely we'll continue to learn lessons. I'll cry about new things and Todd will lose his car keys nine more times and Eden will make messes and Luna will chew something she shouldn't and Owen won't sleep through the night any time soon, but I didn't dive into this expecting perfection. Besides, I'm super good at crying in private so no one has to know and Todd always finds his keys. Eden loves to clean, Luna is still an amazing dog, and Owen is a baby. It's his job to wake up at night.
I think we're doing a pretty good job. Being a family is hard work. Don't trust anyone who tells you otherwise.
I'm glad I have mine.