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Happy Mom-Anniversary!

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I have a one year old.

My daughter’s first birthday was yesterday.  We celebrated with a family party over the weekend, which culminated in Eliza’s first taste of cake. We unwrapped countless beeping, singing plastic toys and tore wrapping paper into tiny shreds that covered the carpet like confetti.  It was a great party.  But all I could think about the whole time was me. 

So much has changed since the moment that helpless newborn was first placed in my arms.

I can now change a diaper in fifteen seconds flat while holding down a wriggling, squirmy little girl. I carry cereal and crackers with me wherever I go. My car is littered with crumbs of food and I no longer care. I am constantly humming a child’s song of some sort throughout my day.

I no longer remember to look at myself in the mirror before I leave the house. I routinely have remnants of food on my sleeves and lower pants; I’ve been thrown up on more times than I care to remember. I am an expert in swaddling, and am able to argue both sides of a debate on the merits of Ferber versus Weissbluth. Sleeping until 7 feels like a vacation. Going on vacation is no longer a vacation; it’s simply a location change.

I have experienced a greater connection with a person than ever before in my life.

The free pass that everyone gives new mothers? Gone.  I no longer have a baby, I have a toddler and that is a whole new animal.  I am a veteran mom.  I am now expected to have my act together. That sweet little baby who slept in her carseat while I colored my hair and spent an hour at the bookstore? Gone.  She is her own little person with needs and an ever growing ability to express herself. 

Not everything has changed. The nervousness I feel over the fact that my husband and I are entirely responsible for Eliza’s health and happiness? That’s still there. The love I feel when I’m holding Eliza? That’s still there.  The utter disgust I feel when she drools, poops, spits up or rubs her sticky fingers on me? Still there.

I have a one year old.

(Originally posted February 16, 2011 at 6:45 p.m.)

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