Something that I didn’t know about babies before having one of my own was something that people call a “growth spurt”. Of course, everyone knows that a growth spurt is when a child or adolescent grows several inches in a short amount of time, but for a baby, it’s even more involved. For example, not only will a baby put on several ounces within a week or two, but she might also cut a few teeth and learn to crawl. In fact, before a baby has a growth spurt, she will start eating around the clock and napping for hours. A baby will spend months without learning anything new and staying relatively the same size, but then in one quick frenzied burst, she’ll leap over all her milestones at once.
Valentine had a growth spurt this last month. In one week, she cut two teeth, grew into a new clothing size, learned to walk, and said her first word unprompted, followed by three more. She seems like a whole new baby. Actually, she doesn’t seem like a baby at all anymore. We have a busy, inquisitive toddler on our hands now.
I’ve kind of had trouble adjusting. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting any of my housework done and couldn’t find anytime to write. Then I realized it’s because I have to keep two eyes on Valentine every moment she’s awake! The times when I haven’t have been disastrous. So far she’s dug through her pail of dirty diapers (cloth mind you…ew!), thrown her shoe in the toilet and splashed delightedly in the water, sucked on a tube of superglue (thankfully the seal was unbroken), spilled a box of pushpins, got a bloody lip pulling out a kitchen drawer, eaten dogfood numerous times, and climbed onto the fireplace. Needless to say, I’ve needed lots of reassurances from Logan that I’m not a negligent mother. (But really…am I a negligent mother???)
I had a good talk with my sister Ellie about this, who has raised three kids past this stage. She said that this season of parenting is really intense and that it took all of her energy just to keep her kids alive and the house running smoothly. If she wanted to add in a hobby she would do it before the kids woke up or after they went to sleep (she woke up at 5:30 every morning to write!). This news was strangely reassuring, I think partly because I was putting pressure on myself to do too much during the day. When she was less mobile, it was easy to get chores done or work out or read my Bible, even when she was awake. But now it’s near impossible and I’m going to sleep with a long list of unfinished tasks in my head. I’ve decided to retire that list of tasks and just concentrate on caring for my sweet daughter and taking care of my responsibilities at home. I love to spend my evenings relaxing with Logan, but maybe I can reserve an hour before bed each night to either write or workout or spend some extra time with the Lord.
What about you? Does anyone else have trouble adjusting to a new season in life? How do you handle it? What about you mothers? How did you navigate the intensity of the toddler years? I’d love to get some more ideas!
Here’s a video of Valentine on the move. At the end she catches sight of Logan and says “hi!”. Her tiny voice always reminds me of Marcel the Shell. :)