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You and Your Heart

09.14.2016 / FAMILY

You know, surprise babies have a way of shaking things up.

For one, you are utterly unprepared to welcome them into your home. You’re prepared in the someday sense, of course. Someday before the baby comes, we’ll set up the crib. Someday, we’ll be sure to find those outlet covers. Someday, we’ll replace the monitor batteries.

But then you get a phone call that – surprise! – a baby is here, and he is yours, and can you welcome him tonight?

And there is only one answer.

On the drive to the hospital, you realize the state of the nest you’re bringing this baby bird into. You panic a bit, realizing Bee’s old crib is still dismantled in the spare room which has become a storage closet for everything you never found a place for: out-of-season coats, extra sheets, hotel soaps. Currently, he has no nursery.

He has no car seat, no sling. No bath tub.

You haven’t even picked out a name.

You begin to think you are perhaps in over your head here.

Do you know the beauty of being in over your head?

When you are in over your head, you are out of your head entirely. Your mind is simply out of commission. Gone. There is no over-thinking, no strategizing, no attempts to control the scenario with a tidy game plan and a to do list.

Your head has left the building.

It is just you and your heart now.

When I was pregnant with Bee, I spent nine long months doing one of two things: sleeping, Googling.

I am not a nurturer by nature, and am largely uncomfortable doing new things. Babies intimidated me with all of their squirms and cries and the million hidden dangers (Honey?! Who knew?) and when I felt in over my head, when I began to imagine the weighty task of bringing a baby into this world, I’d take to Google.

It never helped. (#Understatement.)

I didn’t need more information. I didn’t need more head, more mind, more strategy.

I needed more faith.

You’ll figure it out, friends would say.

We’ll learn as we go, Ken would say.

But when do we install the outlet covers? I would say.

And now, everything is different.

My mind – all fear and doubts and question marks – is no longer in the lead.

My heart is.

We’ve been moving slowly, unpacking what we need as we need it. A swaddle here, Bee’s old onesies there. Eventually, the crib. Yesterday, Bee stumbled upon a giant cardboard box with wide eyes and a curious smile.

What’s that one? she asks.

A baby gate, I say.

Can I see?

We assemble it together, push the lock, close the door.

Mom! she squeals with delight. It’s a puppet show, isn’t it? You got us a puppet show!

And she runs into the office to find her popsicle sticks, resurfacing a half hour later with dried-glue on her fingers and a handful of sticker puppets.

These littles of ours, they’re in over their heads, too. The learning, the re-learning, the boundaries and change and growth. It’s all too much to take sometimes.

So they lead with their heart, and we do our best to follow along.

Where I see fear, she sees adventure.
Where I see doubt, she sees opportunity.
Where I see baby gates, she sees puppet shows.

We’ll set up Scout’s crib later. We’ll know when he’s ready for 5 ounces, we’ll know when he’s outgrowing his swaddle. We’ll learn his cries, his quirks. We’ll know when he’s teething, or maybe we won’t.

We’ll know what we need to know. We have more than enough. We will be ready.

What’s the show about? I ask as she takes position behind the gate, clears her throat, announces her characters.

I don’t know yet, she says. But you’re gonna love it.

I sure will.

 

 

 

This is an essay for Munchkin, who rids the world of the mundane by developing clever, innovative solutions that make family life more fun. We’re using (and loving) the Vibe baby gate. Thanks for reading!
  • LaMesha

    This makes me want to cry so hard. We just had our third baby and it seems like I’ve forgotten everything about being a mom right now. Slowly figuring it all out again.

    • there’s so much to remember, ha! here’s to offering ourselves the time to adjust. :) congrats on your third, lamesha!

  • Yay for puppet shows and leading with your heart!

  • SOCIETY FIX

    Congratulation on your baby.
    http://societyfix.blogspot.com.eg/

  • This brings tears to my eyes, and I mean that in the most beautiful, “sigh of relief” sort of ways. My husband and I have been going through a LOT of life’s uncertainties recently. He doesn’t like his job, I’m juggling two careers and a part-time job as a yoga instructor. I just turned 30, is it time to have kids? Are we ready yet? No? What if we wait too long? The questions pile on and no answers come, but then I read this post. I so needed this reminder that sometimes you’re not going to have all the answers, and that’s ok. They reveal themselves in their own time. Thank you for this beautiful, honest post. I’ll definitely be back to read more.

    • oh christine, i’m so happy you could relate to this and it offered some semblance of peace for today. sending warm, loving vibes your way – i know that question pile well! biggest hugs to you.

  • Cynthia

    So beautifully rendered, as always. How wonderful to have this opportunity to let your heart lead and not overthink everything. You know these children are here to teach us…so might as well open yourself completely and learn all you can about yourself and life. Savor this early haze and fog of new love!

  • Maura

    Your writing is lovely. Congrats on the new family member

  • Of course you know what you’re doing, in the broad sense, but that’s more than you knew before having Bee the first time! Sink into the learning with the new baby, my friend. Sounds like Bee has you covered in keeping the fun going, too.

    • hahahah she’s always good for that. thank you sweet jamie!

  • Rachael

    #Understatement
    goodlord, yes.

  • oh erin! I squealed out load when i scrolled down and saw the baby and his beautiful head of dark hair. What a little blessing!! Oh my heart. So over the moon for you guys!!! He is gorgeous!! Praying for you guys!! xoxo

    • oh sweet jen, THANK YOU! we’re just so so so in love with this little guy!

  • Baby’s don’t really need a nursery for sure, they just need you and your beautiful heart! For me the second baby was also so so different from the first. You learn to trust your gut feeling. And go with the flow. I guess because you already know that you can raise a baby… So I am very happy to read that your heart is taking the lead. And you have faith in yourself and your loved ones. This was again a beautifully wirtten spot-on piece and the last sentence was the best one (Bee ‘s got your talent :-) ).

    • hahah bee is a wise soul indeed! i learn from her daily. :)

      and you’re right – the second time around is so so different. i’m just loving the ways this little guy is shaping us all!

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