I have always loved babies. The smaller the better. Gorgeous little cuddly creatures. Then I had Anna and realised that these gorgeous creatures actually cry a lot (sometimes for no discernible reason), don’t sleep at night, don’t respond or smile for the first 1-2 months, and are in general very high maintenance. It was a real eye-opener for me when I realised just how much work a baby is. When I was pregnant I had this very rosy picture in my head of time spent at home, being with family, playing and cuddling with baby and having a good time in general. I had thought that it would be the first time in my life when I could enjoy myself without worrying about work or studies. Sure I had an idea that babies require a lot of care but I had NO idea just how much.
I think we (Mummy and I) struggled a lot initially because of our lack of knowledge. I was the last baby Mummy handled on a daily basis. She had forgotten a lot of things plus so much has changed in the last so many years. My cousin who is 5 years younger than me is the youngest on my mom’s side of the family. She was till last year the baby of the family. The first newborn I ever saw, much less held, was Anna. I had never spent more than half an hour with a baby so I had no idea what raising a baby entails. None of the people I am close to (friends, family) has a baby. Anna is the first and only baby of her generation in my family. R’s sister has a daughter who was three and half when Anna was born. But she lives in Singapore and we’re not so close that I could keep asking her stuff. Plus she’s not working so a lot of the problems I faced were totally unknown for her. So we were on our own. Not totally helpless because obviously my mom does have experience raising babies and ofcourse my beloved What to Expect book and the wise and sometimes dangerous internet were always there for reference.
In the first few months I would always wish for Anna to be a little older and easier to handle. Only to have people with older kids look at me wistfully and say that they wished their kids were younger. That the older the kid is the more difficult life becomes. It used to really worry me then because I couldn’t imagine life being more difficult.
I don’t think I’m a very good mother for a newborn. I didn’t find changing a million diapers and feeding my baby for the zillionth time rewarding. I didn’t enjoy walking her round and round when she screamed. I didn’t enjoy getting up multiple times in the night. I was exhausted most of the time. And though she was cute and all there isn’t much a small baby does. I think I have started to truly enjoy Anna only now. She is at such an adorable stage now. She doesn’t cry too much without reason. She does so many adorable things. She responds, she talks, she runs, she plays, she communicates. It’s so much fun being around her. I know many issues which I can’t even imagine now will come up as she grows older. I know each stage has it’s problems. But I truly believe that the first year is one of the hardest stages. Maybe time will make me eat my words but till then I’m happy where I am. Happy thinking that the worst is over and the best is yet to come.
What about you ladies with older kids? Which stage till now have you found the most difficult?