My friend Virginie, the home editor over at Chatelaine, gave me the best piece of advice before Sophie was born. She told me that it gets easier at 3 weeks, at 6 weeks, at 3 months, at 6 months. For the first three weeks, I clung to that little tidbit and, almost like clockwork, Soph hit 21 days old and started sleeping a bit longer and going a little longer between feeds. At 6 weeks, I didn’t notice much of a difference but at 7 weeks, my girl seemed to be able to soothe herself some and she started offering up heartbreakingly beautiful smiles (I’m biased, I know).
This week, though, when my little girl turned 3 months, was the most dramatic transformation. Almost overnight, she started babbling, which has now taken the place of crying in some situations. She also really found her feet, a serious source of entertainment, and today she reached for the toys on her play mat instead of just looking at them. This meant that I could sit down beside her with my laptop and answer emails, an incredible feat for me these days.
So, Virg was right. There are milestones and, with every passing day, things that get a little easier. Blaine points out often that with every age, there will be new challenges (potty-training, kindergarten, explaining why 8-year-olds can’t wear makeup to school, explaining why that skirt is too short to my 14-year-old, etc.) and I get that. But this first part — as we get to know Soph and she gets to know herself and the world around her — seems especially hard at times (like when the afternoon hours are ticking by and I can’t get her to nap, knowing full-well that we’ll be paying for it come bedtime).
I started thinking about this today, though, as Soph attempted to shove her toes in her mouth, and I wondered, “When will I know what our ‘normal’ is?” Listen, I know we’ll never get back to ‘Life Before Sophie’, and I don’t want to, but how will I know when life has evened out? When will I recognize a consistency again? Maybe never, but I hope at some point we’ll be able to rely on some constants so we can plan something — anything, really — into our schedules regularly. Blaine and I have been trying to figure out how to schedule exercise for both of us, and it’s just so hard to predict what the evenings will look like (we’ll get there, honey, I promise). For now, Blaine plays basketball once a week and I walk with Sophie almost daily. Maybe once we hit that 6-month mark — out there in the future, like a watery mirage — we’ll have it figured out.
That said, I’ve had to adjust my fitness goals for the year. I’d intended to run a 10K in May and a half-marathon in October. I’m going to try instead for a 5K in June and a 10K in September. If the 5K goes well and we can work out the time to train, I’ll push for the half but I need to cut myself some slack. It is not the end of the world if I run my first post-baby half next year instead. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Hopefully I’ll believe it soon. Just like I’m hoping I’ll wake up one day and know that this is life, that we can rely on something to stay the same for a while. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. So for the time being, I’ll just love watching Sophie grow into herself and look forward to month 6.