For all the things everyone tells you to expect about having a newborn, no one tells you what to appreciate. It’s the little things you won’t think about during those first few weeks with a newborn. They’re fleeting as you dance the dance of adjustment and survival. They’ll get lost in the fog of not sleeping for three months, and wondering how something so tiny turned your world upside down with hurricane-like force. The newborn things — they’re there, etched in the depths of your memory, stored with forgotten moments immortalized by your subconscious as a reminder of the bond that started it all. Little things like:
1. The way they make the little “o” with their mouth.
I can’t explain why this is so mesmerizing and cute. The next time they do this will be to say, “Uh-oh,” as you both stand there looking at a full gallon of freshly spilled milk on the floor.
2. How they smell.
There are scientific studies that explain this is a thing. Babies smell good, even if you don’t bathe them. In a few months, when they have fat rolls, and you forget to clean them, they smell less good.
3. How much they sleep.
Once you have a toddler, you’ll appreciate it. It’s like winning the down time lottery.
4. How they can’t escape a cuddle.
Newborns can’t move. Well, they do weird auto-flailing movements that usually result in them hitting their face, but they’re stationary. This means they can’t wiggle their way out of your arms because your cuddle was rudely interrupted by a marker three feet away.
5. How they look at you like you’re the only thing in the world.
To them, you are the only thing in their world. You’re their love, support, and feeding machine. Right around 2, they learn to give dirty looks, and around 3 they have mastered the eye roll.
6. How you can’t stop staring at them.
When they’re babies, you’re too mesmerized to walk away. You could watch them sleep forever. When they’re 2, you’re too perplexed to look away because you wonder how they managed to get a whole fatty baby leg into the sleeve of a shirt two sizes too small.
7. How tiny their feet are.
These grow fast; don’t take them for granted. Also, in a few years, you’ll have to clip their creepy talon-like nails. Not so cute.
8. How soft their skin is.
All of my kids still have soft skin, but around the crawling era, everyone got rougher knees and elbows. That was a bittersweet day.
9. How they stretch their little neck and turn their head to follow your voice.
Because you’re their world, all they care about is you, and hearing you. All they know is you. In a few months, they’ll be ignoring you with so much skill, you can juggle four cats and they won’t even look at you.
10. How small they look in their crib.
There’s something sentimental about a newborn baby swaddled and sleeping in the middle of a crib that, in three short years, they will be tall enough to jump in and out of.
11. How light they are.
Even a 10-pound baby is light compared to a 30-pound toddler. Of course, it’s a lot easier to tote around any amount of weight that isn’t kicking and screaming through a tantrum.
12. How they move their arms and legs.
The difference between a newborn and a toddler when it comes jerking an arm or a leg out is intent.
13. Their tiny newborn squawks.
These are music to the ears compared to the overtired, dramatic scream of a toddler meltdown.
14. How their legs stay curled despite their new unrestricted accommodations.
The newborn/infant ball, as I like to call it. In the first several weeks, they curl up like a roly-poly bug and rarely stretch out their legs. Soon, their legs and arms will be in every direction, across you and your partner, taking up 85% of your bed.
15. How every part of them is perfect.
From their soft spots to their toe-tips, perfect. Even as your child gets older, you’ll fail to find the imperfections of the miracle that is them. Unless you catch them eating boogers. It kind of wrecks the moment.
So, make a note of these little things to enjoy, because once these things are gone, you don’t get them back. On those nights when you are bombarded with cluster feedings and it’s just you and your baby awake while the world sleeps, fight off that resistance to nod off for a few more minutes until you can take in that little bitty one who wants nothing more than to eat and be loved. Soon, she’ll be busy. These moments are fleeting, as is all of childhood.