Oh, my sweet little boy. When you were born last September, we had no idea what was in store for your first year of life.
As our second-born, we thought we were better prepared for you than we were for your big brother. We had no idea what we were doing with him, but for you… well, this wasn’t our first rodeo. We didn’t need to Google every tiny little thing. We were more confident. It was going to be easier this time around.
How wrong we were.
Truthfully, we didn’t have many complaints about the first six months of your life. We really were better prepared and had an easier time with you than with your brother. I happily waltzed you around to your first Christmas, your first Mardi Gras…. My biggest worry was that you might catch the flu, having been born right at the start of flu season. The thought of my fear of the flu now makes me laugh. (You know, that crazed kind of laugh that borders on hysteria.)
When you turned six months in March, that half-birthday coincided with the start of Louisiana’s shelter at home orders, and it felt like everything got turned upside down. Everything we thought we knew about raising a baby was thrown out the window. Sure, nobody gives you a manual for babies, but there are seriously NO resources on how to handle a baby during a pandemic.
Will this be the only normal you know?
We were grateful we had six months of life with you under our belt before everything started. You weren’t born into a pandemic, but it is the world in which you are growing up. Will this be the only normal you know?
Our world changed in an incomprehensibly big way, but you don’t really know any different. For you, it was the little things that changed: a sudden increase in our daily walks and time spent outside; no more being strapped into your enemy, the car seat; your daddy suddenly a constant presence in your daily routine. Your grandparents missed out on a solid two months of your life, which was heartbreaking, but it solidified the gratitude we have for them. Being trapped at home twenty-four hours a day with a baby who woke every single hour at night without fail and without any break was no joke.
Milestone after milestone…
You’ve never sat in a shopping cart– prior to the pandemic, I wore you against my heart in a baby wrap. You’ve never sat in a high chair at a restaurant– you would simply snooze in your car seat if we brought you out. You didn’t have six-month pictures like your brother did, or anyone to coo over you in your first Easter outfit, and so on. Lots of little things that, despite their littleness, brought me sadness as we watched milestone after milestone pass by in this strange new world.
But amidst all the new, unpredictable problems and struggles, big and small, we found so much to be grateful for. Your daddy is in love with the fact that working from home places him in the middle of your milestones and daily life, something he couldn’t always be present for during your brother’s first year. Our neighborhood walks with the double stroller became a regular fixture in quarantine life, and I cherished those moments with you peering out at the quiet, still world– no cars on the streets, but an abundance of neighbors gardening, painting, and waving. You were infinitely easier to get on a good schedule, unlike your brother, because there wasn’t anything to interrupt our days and throw you off. Your solid nap routine is actual #goals, and early bedtime has never been so easy to achieve as during quarantine!
I keep thinking how much faster your first year flew by than your brother’s. I can’t decide if it was because we were better adjusted as parents or if it was because time no longer seems to hold any meaning in Quarantine World. Either way, I can barely believe you’re one, and although I’m quietly mourning some of the little things we missed in your first year thanks to COVID, I’m celebrating how closely we got to watch you grow. Your birthday party won’t be the event it was supposed to be, but we are celebrating you anyway.
Welcome to one, baby boy.