Friday, May 16, 2008

Roller coaster

First, please keep Kathleen in your thoughts. She's very ill and needs all the good thoughts and prayers you can send.

Second, what a roller coaster week this has been. Awful, awful news from every corner just keeps raining down, and I'm honestly afraid to pick up the phone when it rings because at this point I've received at least three calls in the last 24 hours that have reduced me to tears. I don't want to talk about it right now because I'm still processing (besides which, some of the news isn't mine to share) but that post will be coming at some point in the future.

Third, I've decided that a roller coaster is the perfect metaphor for the first year of parenthood. Big shocker, right? A: that the English teacher searches for metaphors for her life, and B: that the metaphor is an old, tired one. Hear me out, though!

Pregnancy is the looooooooong ride up to the top of the first drop. You think you're never going to get there, you're nervous and excited the whole time, and then BOOM! You drop!

(that's birth, by the way)

The initial 10-15 seconds of the ride, where you're disoriented and screaming, are the first months of your baby's life. Everything is new, you can't anticipate your next move, and you feel like you're going to fall off and/or throw up the entire time.

Then you start getting used to the jerkiness of the ride and begin really enjoying it. You can anticipate some of the curves, you might even have a chance to glance outside of the ride and see the water feature or popcorn stand nearby, and life is good. Sure, you're still on a roller coaster, but it's not new and strange anymore. Those are months four through 12.

Then, of course, the ride stops and you're forced to get off, shaky and dizzy, which I assume is a good analogy for moving from babyhood into the toddler years when everything changes again.

In case you can't tell from my above analysis, I'm feeling pretty confident about parenthood right about now. Life is (generally) predictable, and every once in awhile Luke makes a breakthrough that feels exactly like a lull in the ride. Case in point, he can now put himself to sleep.

For any non-parents reading this, putting oneself to sleep is a milestone that can never come early enough. After spending months and months nursing, rocking, singing, cajoling, and begging a baby to fall deeply enough asleep to be put down in his/her crib without waking back up again; it feels like clouds lifting and angels singing when one night you put down your baby awake (after spending WAAAAAAAY too much time on the above activities and giving up in sheer frustration) only to have him/her roll over and fall fast asleep.

Luke has now put himself to sleep several nights in a row, and I am loving it. LOVING IT. I know full well that I'm probably jinxing it by writing this, but I don't care. Every one of these little milestones, every one of these little things that he can do on his own, feels like the roller coaster slowing down. That doesn't mean it's stopped, or that parenthood gets easier, but it's getting more predictable. More normal. And that's a good thing.

No comments: