“Your child is only a potted plant once…”
My newborn son was three weeks old when I heard something that changed the course of the next year…
His godfather is a surgeon and has some pretty strong opinions on anything health-related, as you can imagine. When my son was born, our friend the surgeon strongly recommended that we didn’t leave the house for the first thirty days. Well, if you read my introduction you know what that meant. I didn’t leave the house for thirty days with my newborn son. I live in a remote mountain town with less than 3,000 people and no grocery delivery service. In fact, my nearest neighbor is across a river and up a hill and the nearest grocery store nearly 13 miles away. I was pretty trapped. And hungry…
My son and I got pretty cozy during this time. I walked around our yard. Then I nursed and changed the baby. Then we walked around the yard. And then… boredom set in. I couldn’t work out due to my pregnancy and some pretty significant damage my little one did coming out during our natural birth. I wasn’t just stir crazy, I was losing my mind!
During that time another dear friend, a father of three from our town, came by to help with some plumbing issues we were having and told my husband: “you’ll be making the biggest mistake of your lives if you shelter this child. It’s not good for him; and it’s especially not good for you! This child is only a potted plant for another sixteen weeks – you’d better get out and enjoy it while it lasts!”
He likened the child’s first six months to the “baby Buddha” stage when the child pretty much sits where he’s placed and is entertained by things such as ceiling fans and lamps.
It wasn’t long after that when my husband and I found ourselves celebrating my birthday with a fabulous four-course dinner complete with wine and dessert pairings. Our potted plant was a contented, happy little baby watching us with fascination and periodically picking up spoons or pieces of ice to drool on. Needless to say, we took our friend’s advice and rolled with it.
Several times during the course of that dinner and over the next nine months we looked at each other and thought, “wow, having kids is easy!” (Our son was a late crawler so our potted plant stage lasted eight precious weeks longer than some babies.)
Now, I’m not gonna lie… it got a LOT harder to sit through dinners with our little one during the course of that first year. But we never became hermits because of it.
A Baby Is A Baby In Any Environment
As new parents, we learned quickly that whether we hunkered down at home or painted the town red that night… the baby would be a baby in any and every environment.
He sleeps irregularly. He pees and poops constantly. He cries sporadically and often without warning.
But that was no reason to sit at home and watch the trees grow!
With each passing month certain things about having an infant become much harder, while others become enormously easier. What’s most important is that you engage your child with love and attention no matter what is going on around you and you will definitely make it through anything life and travel throws at you.
You’ve got this, mama!