Many parents keep track of your baby’s milestones and firsts - or at least have really good intentions about keeping up with that baby book. It’s not just a whole new world for your baby, though - adding her to your life has changed it, and you’re doing things you’ve never done before every day too. There may not be anyone scrapbooking about it, but that’s no reason not to celebrate your own victories.
Not just ‘successful’ in the way where you get in and out in only twice the time it should take, with pretty much everything you needed - that’s an important trip, too, and you definitely deserve a gold star for it every time. It gets to be something like a routine eventually, though. What can take a little bit longer are those trips to the store where your baby doesn’t fuss or cry or get bored, or reach for anything on the shelves, and the only looks you get from your fellow shoppers are the “what an adorable baby,” looks.
It doesn’t take too long to get to the point where, when your baby cries, you have a routine of things you run through and check to see what she needs or wants. Eventually though, there’s a day when you hear your baby cry, and you know what that particular sound means she is asking for, and you stop her cries in their tracks. It doesn’t mean you’ve reached the end of those days where your baby cries and cries and you can’t figure out why - a few more of those are probably inevitable - but it’s a sign of how much your understanding of your baby’s moods and needs has grown, and should be a great boost to your confidence.
Whether it’s your baby’s cries, your ongoing worry about her slight fever that stays just under the cut-off point for when your doctor says to bring her in for medical attention, or just an inability to drop off again after your baby wakes you up the first time, the first day you face on next-to-no-sleep, courtesy of your infant child, is a rough one. Somehow it feels like a much bigger deal than staying up all night ever did when you were a teenager, though part of that may just be that you never have the chance to sleep all day to make up for it. your baby still wakes up bright and early, ready to face the day with all of her usual enthusiasm, and there’s nothing for you to do but stumble along with her, and hope the night before won’t be the first of many.
No matter how carefully you plan things out, a time was always going to come when your baby’s in serious need of a diaper change, and there isn’t a changing table, or even much of a flat surface to be found. It’s just you, your baby, and your trusty diaper bag, alone in the wilds of your local park, the parking lot outside the post office, or the back seat of the car. Just like they did on the Oregon trail, right? It may not have been easy, or quick, or totally comfortable for you or your baby. The sweatshirt you sacrificed to turn the hood of your car into a temporary changing surface might never be the same, but the important thing is that you got through it, and that you’ve come out the other side even stronger and more adaptable than you have ever been before.
It can be terrifying the first time you leave your tiny baby with someone who isn't a relative or close friend you've known for awhile, and that's true whether it's for a necessary errand or a well-earned break, and whether your baby is 3 months old or 3 years. It's a growing experience - both for you and for your baby - and when you get home to find her safe and sound, you'll both be better off for it.