I have never been a baby person.
Since we moved around a lot, I was never around any of my cousins when they were little, and never really was friends with anyone with little siblings. I remember holding my cousin Brayden for a few minutes, but other than that not much. I think due to this lack of social interaction with babies, they made me fairly uncomfortable when I got older. My older sister was always keen to babysit, (I mean who doesn’t want a pay day right?), and my parents pushed and pushed me to get into it when I became of age. I did it a few times
more than once because my mom agreed I would for me but that is beside the point, but once I could start working at a regular part-time job I stopped.
Never really hung out with babies after that.
Then I met Tyler. I remember flying out to go to the Marine Corps Ball with him, and we stayed with his brother and sister-in-law (the same ones we now live with). It was the first time I met his Niece, Abigail. She was 2, and for some odd reason we got along really well. We played barbies, she played with my clothes from the suitcase, she snuggled with Winnie since she was a cute little puppy. I was surprised at myself for enjoying my time with her, but even more surprised she liked me (then again, I think anyone playing barbies would be fun for her!). Its amazing to think that she was so little when I first met her, since now she is 5!
So as I watched Abby get older, really without realizing how fast she was growing up since Tyler and I lived in Wisconsin and saw her a few times throughout the year, it was a different experience with Elyse. We were living in the same house when she was born, so I was a little stressed about the whole baby situation (let alone being pregnant myself). I had no idea how to hold a baby, talk to a baby, entertain a baby, keep them from crying, nothing. I wasn’t really nervous for my own child- I knew my maternal instincts would kick in. But someone else’s? It gave me a whole other bout of anxiety.
She was born while I still had finals, which I was happy about to give them some time to get settled in with their new baby before I moved in officially. The first night I got back she was asleep in the master bedroom, so it wasn’t too different at first. Then she woke up, and after eating Joe asked if I wanted to hold her.
I was terrified.
But, Joe & Tyler were persistent that I “practice” so I sat down in the recliner and they put her in my lap. She was sleeping, and super calm. I just didn’t want to wake her up!
I am not sure if it was because she could tell I was pregnant, or if she was just in that sleepy newborn phase, but she slept, and slept, and slept. The guys helped me recline my seat, covered us in a blanket, and we both conked out. So, my first experience with a baby was a good one!
Living with their family has taught me so much about parenting, and motherhood. I basically got to watch first hand what I was going to be going through and doing in the next six months, and I was soaking it all in like a sponge. I don’t think anyone will realize how much having Elyse in my life impacted me as a mom. She was the perfect little squishy snuggly baby to observe and “practice” my mom skills on. Heidi was so open and nurturing about answering my questions and letting me interact with her new baby girl, I couldn’t have had anyone else better to learn from.
Everyone says time flies and that your baby will grow up right before your eyes.
I knew that’s what they said. As I saw Abby grow up, the aging was more obvious since I didn’t see her everyday. One day she was playing “puppy”, and the next time she was saying words like “compliment” and forming long, articulate sentences that even my college peers would struggle with. But with Elyse, the time was subtle. You’d realize when she hit another milestone, or when it was time to take the belly-sticker-month pictures, but since we saw her everyday it was just Elyse being Elyse. Making dinosaur noises, laughing at people coughing, gagging at invisible (like there was literally nothing in her mouth) pieces of food. Just being goofy, cuddly, Elyse.
And then just like that, it was her birthday..
Happy First Birthday Lyse-Bear. You might not really care or notice me, but you have left such a wonderful impression on my heart. We love you!!