Chris and I were pushing the baby in her stroller on Saturday afternoon in Inwood, and a mom passed us on the street and marveled at how cute Kaia was. “Enjoy it and soak in every minute!” she said, smiling. “It goes by so, so fast! I have two babies, and they are 16 and 18 now, just like that! It was like it was just yesterday! Where did my babies go??”
She’s right. It’s totally nuts. Kaia is already 32 weeks old, almost at her eight-month birthday. I was so proud of her yesterday when I presented steak to her. She had a big hunk she was sucking and chewing on, and after biting off two large pieces, she gagged a little on the first and spit it out with some coaching. She didn’t gag at all with the second piece, moved it around her mouth, tried to chew, and then eventually spit it out.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous watching her with that piece of steak in her mouth, which I knew she would not be able to swallow as it was without more chewing. I kept my exaggerated model of chewing and spitting out to show her what to do, and she seemed to get it. She’s catching on really fast. She still doesn’t have any teeth yet, but given how hard her gums are, I have a feeling a tooth is going to break out any day now.
It is work to teach her the basics of survival: how to chew, spit out, move food around her mouth. But these moments are the ones I live for. Watching her grow and evolve is the greatest gift I’ve ever had. Not a day has gone by when I have not given thanks for having her, especially when I know so many others who have struggled to conceive and still do not have their miracle baby. It easily could have been the case that I never even had a child. Every day, I feel like time is passing too quickly, like I don’t have enough time in a day to do everything I want. Something always seems like it needs to get done or fixed or cleaned. Or I have to pump or clean pump parts or do something else chore-like. Sometimes, I just want to sit and hold her and admire our little family, and that’s it. I guess this is what it’s like to be a working mom — never feeling like you have enough time for everything and always feeling like you could be doing more, for yourself, your baby, and your home.