The Swimmer

by Jessica Ehlers, April 17, 2011

A minute ago I was anxiously taking pregnancy tests, hoping. Now my son is nearly five. People told me that would happen. Of course I had heard it all before. But a lot of that stuff is white noise until it becomes your own truth. My sister maintains she still misses me at four. I shrug.

Time marches on. And on. I remember when my little boy was a movement inside my belly, a heel in my ribs, a fist on my bladder. I certainly remember enough of the the moment by moment breathing of natural childbirth to feel like a war hero. Except where were the battle lines? I remember at one point the RN, who'd been the amazing Drill Sargent of my labor got a stitch in her brow while looking at some machines that had started making weird noises to my right. The MD had a Valium smile but I could tell it was time. I put my hand on my belly and said aloud, "Let's do this, Baby."

He had ten fingers and ten toes. He had lots of dark hair on his head and body. He had the most perfect red bow lips. The lactation consultant wasn't there that day but I figured I'd had breasts since I was a teenager, how hard can nursing really be? Ha. Let me give you advice I did not heed and go ahead and let someone properly train you. We eventually figured it out but dude, it hurt real bad for a while there.

His hair fell out. He got baby acne. The MD told me it was from my hormones. Sorry, kid. His bright white hair came in, the bumps receded. He learned the army crawl first. He took a few steps and was off running, always running.

And sleeping. Ha! I was fervently into the Attachment Parenting philosophy while my little man was tiny. Sucker that I was. I am not saying Attachment Parenting does not have some excellent points and ideas. However, I now see things differently. For instance, if you put your kid to sleep in a crib every night I don't think your kid is going to feel any less secure than if you co-sleep until they're five. Ha. Like co-sleeping ends at five. Well, we're working on it. He sleeps in his own bed most of the night.

Whenever we make any decision, we have our neck out some. Having a kid is no small decision. There are so many factors. So many choices of how to proceed at each and every turn and books and theories developed that counter whatever you decide. That's where the gut comes in. Like smelling the milk before you drink from the carton, you get a knack for knowing which fork to take. And it never hurts to listen to your gut.

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