Our baby boy is like an ill behaved puppy. Gnawing, drooling, and howling his way through the day keeping us unwaveringly vigilant in thwarting his exuberant attempts at self destruction. Never have baby gates been so useful or necessary in our house. Nora is just as dismayed as ourselves at his fearless pursuit for eating shoes, dirt, wrappers, and anything that makes noise. I feel more like a matador than a mother as I try to distract him from charging people with his walker or grabbing toys away from Nora.

It’s difficult to not feel guilty for getting annoyed with him and impossible to not be infuriated with him. Despite the intended kindness of others, I’m anxious for this phase of infancy to end as much as I was with Nora’s yet more. Some day, years from now, I might look back and miss the snuggling and baby giggles as the guilt trips of “enjoy this now” and “be grateful” weigh like a yoke on my spirit and mind. But, until then, no.

No, I do not “love” the infant phase and, no, I do not want this to “last forever “. Baby clothes are fun to pick out but not to actually use. Holding a baby is wonderful but only when they’re easy to hold and it’s not yours because you can hand it back. Baby coos and laughter are warming to the coldest of hearts but enough to shell shock your nerves when that’s all you hear throughout the day at a decibel that reaches through the windows.

I look forward to him walking independently and speaking with confidence, for us to be able to return to some of the activities Nora and I used to enjoy, and not feeling trapped to a life of futility and lactation. Much like his attempts at kissing that end with a drool patch on your clothes, and bite marks if you’re unlucky; please take your well intentioned attempt at reassurance and file it under “kisses don’t have teeth”. If you truly mean well then listen, offer to hold my baby, and keep your own regrets to yourself. I tell the kids, “Hands are for holding, helping, hugging – not hurting.” Maybe I should come up with a saying about unsolicited advice and laments from fellow parents. Unless you’re in the trenches like myself, you’re not on active duty and you must have forgotten that those sweet baby kisses sometimes smell like spit-up and can feel like a bear trap.

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