• Thu, Mar 20 - 12:00 pm ET

The Days Are Long, And You Won’t Miss The Baby Stage

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I’m just two years into parenting, and it’s already going by way too fast. Suddenly, I’m realizing the truth in the annoying statement that every new parent hears: “The days are long, but the years are short.”

You know what’s coming next… ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS. Yes, more experienced parents that kindly patronize new parents are well-meaning, but they must also have amnesia. I can promise you that you are not going to enjoy the baby stage, and you’ll be happy to see it go.

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This doesn’t mean you are a bad parent; you’re just a normal person that likes to get eight hours of sleep at night. I loved watching both of my sons grow as babies, but it wasn’t until my first son turned one year old that I thought to myself, THIS is why people become parents.

Once my first son hit his first birthday, he started to develop an adorable personality. He was walking and eating regular food. He was off the breast milk and formula and on to good old cow’s milk. He was more so resembling a miniature person instead of a giant baby that spit up on me and kept me up at night.

My second son just hit 10 months, and I am chomping at the bit for his unique personality to emerge. He’s a really happy, adorable, pleasant baby, and I love him so much that I want to eat his face off. But still. Last night he was teething with a mild fever and kept us up for several hours crying and moaning and thrashing around.

No, the baby stage is not easy. In my personal experience, it is that one year mark that brings sweet, sweet relief. Now that my older son is two years old, I want to freeze time. The terrible twos aren’t that terrible. Sure, he screams like a maniac when he doesn’t get a popsicle during dinner, but I am obsessed with his funny, defiant little personality.

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When my younger son turns one in just a few months, I may officially be in my parenting prime. Soon enough, I may be one of those annoying parents who encourage new parents with the same, tired advice they’ve heard one hundred times before—you’ve got to enjoy it while it lasts. It goes by way too fast.

(Image: lisalucia/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • EX

    I love 2. It’s awesome. I’m really not digging the newborn phase this time around. The first time it was a novelty. This time, not so much. And if one more person asks me if my 5 week old is “sleeping well at night” they might get punched. I mean, yes, she’s sleeping well for a 5 week old which means if I’m lucky I get one 3 hour stretch of uninterrupted sleep. Woo hoo.

    • EX

      I just re-read my comment. Man, I sound cranky. I think I need some sleep! *cue maniacal laugh*

    • Katherine Handcock

      Yeah, but every parent here is nodding :-)

    • Bethany Ramos

      I FELT (feel) THE EXACT SAME WAY. Done.

    • JLH1986

      I just assume no kid sleeps well at night until like a year. Because I hear a lot of parents complain about that.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      The ones with the good sleepers are less vocal. A, no reason to complain. B, they fear the sleep-deprived wrath of the parents of poor sleepers, plus C, they don’t want to be assholes.

  • MerlePerle

    I’ve really loved the baby stage both times. With my first everything was new and exciting and my second is just the friendliest, happiest baby I have ever met. But I guess I just got really lucky!

  • Kay_Sue

    I dunno. I do think I have amnesia, because I do miss it. I mean, not all of it–I like sleeping through the night, and I like that my oldest can grab his own drinks and snacks, and I like being more free to drop them off at Grandma’s occasionally. I don’t miss spit up, and I will be so glad when I change my last shitty diaper.

    But I do miss snuggling with them while they slept. I kind of even miss nursing them and getting those moments–especially when I got home from work while my youngest was small. I miss the milk coma afterwards. I miss watching for their first smiles and listening for their first words.

    I don’t want anyone to tell me that it goes by fast, and I don’t want to tell anyone else. But when I watch my three year old starting to lose that baby look and get longer and leaner and talk more and more like a big kid…I’m one of those saps that misses it.

    • EX

      Aw shucks. Now I feel bad. Baby’s are fun. And cute. And squishy. Once I start getting some sleep I hope I’ll enjoy the baby phase a bit more.

    • Kay_Sue

      You shouldn’t. I think both reactions–missing it and not–are totally normal and expected. Plus, you currently have a newborn. When I had a newborn, I couldn’t wait for him to get bigger…..

    • EX

      True. Also, I just remembered a serious “pro” to babies – they’re so portable. Unlike the unruly toddlers.

    • Natasha B

      This. I miss the infant stage most when herding a 4yo and 20month old through target.

    • SA

      God, spit-up. I had forgotten. My husband and I say that is the absolute WORST thing about having a baby (esp the 4-6 month range). It is so gross. I’ll take blow-outs and sleepless nights over spit up any day.

    • Kay_Sue

      Spit up was pretty awful, but I have to be honest and say toddler vomit is so much worse in my opinion. I don’t know about anyone else, but when our youngest gets sick, the kid wants nothing more than to lay on me or my husband, and so we typically wind up with it all over us…at least it doesn’t happen very often. Only a handful of times….

    • EX

      I was totally going to say that. Nothing worse than unexpected, chunky, toddler vomit (I just grossed myself out writing that).

    • waffre

      Ugh, why did I decide to start eating a leftover green St. Patrick’s Day cupcake while reading the comments??

    • EX

      Sorry. Bad timing!

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      My son was never a bit spitter-upper, although last night, after being out of daycare for the day and getting lots of fluids and rest, woke up and vomitted all over himself.
      I’m sick, my husband is sick. He changed him while I changed his bedding.
      But then he reached for me when I was about to give him a bottle. He just looked so relieved that his ordeal was over. I was exhausted, but it was precious.

    • Kay_Sue

      I’ll take those cheap cuddles any time. We can tag team the vomiting–usually whoever is not covered bathes the kid, while the other gets a chance to clean up. We make a decent team, and that’s one of the instances when I am glad for it. ;)

    • EX

      One of the most strangely cute things ever was my toddler, after throwing up all over the floor, pointing at the mess and saying “oh no!” over and over. It was just so cute how concerned she was over the mess she’d made. Also, this was one of the few times the vomit missed me, which maybe why it was kinda cute.

    • Edify

      Yes! It’s so gross and they still don’t really get what’s happening and understand the warning signs so they just open their mouth and out it comes. Usually on you. My almost 4 year old finally understands and can get to the bathroom. First time she was sick and did that, I was almost jumping with glee!

    • Natasha B

      None of mine spit up, but I’m with you on the toddler vomit. I dread the flu more than anything.

    • Jennifer Freeman

      I’ll trade you spit-up duty for blow-out duty. I went to pick my son up from daycare once and I noticed he was in his spare clothes. The care provider said “He had poop all the way up to his chest!”. I really believed she was exagerrating until I got home and opened the bag of dirty clothes. Sure enough, poop had soaked the shirt all the way from the waistline to the chest. GROSS.

    • SA

      We had several of those up to the chest ones! I don’t even understand the physics of it. Mind boggling.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      That I don’t miss. My first took after me and spit up constantly. I lay her down to change her diaper, and have to give her a bath because has spit up, and it pooled around her head. I was covered constantly. She was so cute and snuggly though.

    • Valerie

      I do miss nursing. Kind of a lot. How frantic he got before the latch (daughter was not into nursing so only nursed him) and how happy he was once the milk was happening. And when he got a little older and would just stare at my eyes and then suddenly, smile and the milk would come out the sides of his mouth.

      Ok, now I’m almost crying at work.

      http://cdn.uproxx.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/huge-mess-wiig.gif

    • Kitsune

      My son is three months and is at the smile up at me phase. He also tries to talk to me too, which amounts to him just making vowel sounds but it is soooo cute. I’m trying not to think about how I’m going to feel when we don’t have this anymore because I already cry whenever he goes into a new size. I’m imagining some ugly crying breakdowns in my future.

    • Valerie
    • Bethany Ramos

      Hhahahahaha

    • Natasha B

      That used to crack the hubby and I up so much, the little piggy noises and looking for it. Awww I miss the babies :(

    • Larkin

      I love babies when they’re in their bologna loaf stage. My husband, not so much. He’s much more of the “can we get a time machine and make them one year old?” type. Given, my first very own bologna loaf isn’t due till October… so we’ll see if I still feel the same way once I’m dealing with one 24/7 instead of for a few hours at a time. I may very well change my tune. Haha.

  • Robotic Socks

    Beth, fortunately, you’re young enough that when you really start to miss it in a few years…

    #3

    • Bethany Ramos

      Noooooooooooooooooo

    • Valerie

      Maybe you should give her husband your scissor condom tips.

  • Katherine Handcock

    I’d agree too! My kids are now 3 and 5, and they’re getting more fun all the time. The baby phase has its charms, but compared to the sleep deprivation and constant need for help, I’ll take toddlers and up any day!

    Speaking of which, right now my 3-year-old is dancing around the living room singing “For The First Time In Forever” from Frozen :-)

  • SA

    Can honestly say I don’t miss it at all. I love being able to interact with my 1.5 year old. And I can honestly say that I am way more relaxed (at least a new version of relaxed, I know I will never experience the relaxation that I had pre-kid).

    However, on the sleep thing…at least from my experience, don’t expect 8 hours for a while! Teething continues (the HELL of 1st year molars!), night terrors, sleep regression. I definitely got more sleep when she was about 3 months old than I did from 12-17 months. *Phew*.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I am remembered my renewed hatred for 9-12 months with full-on screaming and teething and the whole nine yards. Almost over. :(

    • Jessifer

      My son is 8 months… please don’t say these things to me. I’d rather not know.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Haha sorry!! “Enjoy it while it lasts…” :)

    • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

      If it’s any comfort, some tylenol and gum numbing stuff was enough to keep my kid calm during her teething. Basically she’d sleep rough for the few nights it was going on and maybe want more nursing/bottles, but otherwise she was a trooper.

      My cousin’s twins (or at least one of them) was the vomiting/fevers/etc. So you can have both extremes. :/

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      My daughter cut all her teeth pretty much at once at a year old without much fussing, so it’s not always terrible. I guess that was my reward for the 8 months of full time work with zero sleep.

    • Natasha B

      Eh, our youngest was gold during the 9-12mos. She cut her teeth without any fuss, and she was so happy to be crawling. Don’t give up hope yet.

  • Jennifer Freeman

    My little guy just hit the 4 month mark, and this is probably my favorite time baby-wise. He is still soft and cute and snuggly and totally needs me for everything, but he is starting to get a bit of a personality. It was the same with my daughter – the 4 – 6 month mark is just my absolute favorite.

  • Valerie

    I don’t miss the baby stage in general. I miss MY baby’s baby stage. Like, sometimes I get the quivery upper lip when I think about the fact that I can NEVER hold baby Claire and baby Ben ever ever again. I can hold other people’s babies but other than photos, videos and memories, I will never again hold my little ones when they weighed as much as a sack of flour. They are big kids now and only getting bigger every day. I don’t think about it much but when it hits me, it hits like a ton of bricks and makes me wish I had cherished the baby days a little more. So I don’t want to do it over, it was definitely really tough. But I do miss the good parts of it and how sweet and tiny they were.

    • MerlePerle

      My baby ben still has 2 baby months left and I’m gonna cherish the hell out of them.

    • Valerie

      Do it for my sake! :-)

  • girlindisguise

    I think each phase has their pros and cons. I want to see him grow up and it’s exciting, seeing him learn new words and explore the world and just be amazing, but I also miss his less rambunctious months, when he was learning to roll over, when things were a little more slow-paced, how he would fall asleep eating.

    I look forward to all the awesome things to come but I look back on pictures and think about how weirdly adorable he was and it makes me want another, for sure.

  • Amy K.

    Don’t gloat yet about the terrible two’s being not that bad. I felt the same way until the day my son turned 2 years 9 months. I’m told they get better at 4.

    • Cara

      Ummm….no. 4 is evil. It is the 2′s and 3′s but smarter, snarlier, and with more attitude. Sorry! :( Maybe 5 is the magical age?

    • Cara

      I meant “snarkier”….not sure it is a word though….autocorrect doesn’t like it!

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      4 has been pretty horrific in my house as well. 2 was great. I guess it depends on the kid.

    • Natasha B

      4 is a lie. They’re faster, smarter, stronger, and scarier. I’ve heard 5 is gold?
      The 2′s were easy. Sweet but funny. It was like demon possession when he turned 3.

  • Kendra

    Okay, I must be weird, but I SO MUCH miss the baby stage. Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of the cool stuff we get to learn as we approach two, but you just can’t beat a tiny, cuddly, sweet smelling baby. Which is why there will likely be another for me soon!

    • Natasha B

      I love the baby phase too. Especially that drunk newborn phase. And 4/5 mos. and 9mos. All of it.

  • msenesac

    I enjoyed the baby stage right around 3 months old when he started sleeping through the night. I much prefer his age (he’s now 6 months old) than my 2 year old.

  • cabinfever

    The days are long. Loooooooong.
    Someday soon, I’ll look back and regret that I didn’t enjoy my daughters more when they were babies. I’ll start telling exhausted young mothers to enjoy their babies because they grow up so fast, and make them feel crappy too.

    But goddamn, I am tired.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I AM SO TIRED.

  • val97

    I don’t miss the baby or toddler stage. Yes, they were freaking adorable, but that’s what pictures and video are for. I don’t miss all of the work or the tears or the dirty diapers. I think my favorite time was age 5-6 for both kids. Still cute and munchkin-like but with the ability to do most things for themselves. My almost 9 year old still likes to cuddle on the couch. When that stops, I will probably be a little sad. Maybe I’ll get another cat.

  • Cara

    I think it REALLY REALLY depends on the kid. My son is awesome and I love him but he is NUTS NUTS NUTS right now (age 4). I would do anything for babyhood again (and he wasn’t the easiest baby). Watching him get all snarky and cop an attitude with me makes me long for the days of pushing him around in the stroller on walks while I made goofy faces at him to make him laugh! My daughter, on the other hand – the sweetest 2 year old there ever was. I want to freeze time with her right now – don’t miss the baby stage with her and don’t want her to get a single day older!

  • KL

    hahaha… 1 was fantastic. Up until 18 mos. We’ve been in some sort of “terrible twos” and now “even more terrible 3s” phase with our twins since then. I cry almost daily, and have told people on more than one occasion that their baby days were WAY easier and I miss that stage. And yeah-toddler puke is way worse than a little formula spit-up…my two were up all night with the stomach bug. I had to take a shower at midnight last night.

  • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

    I don’t miss all of it, but I miss a lot of it. My kids are 5 and 7 and the 7 year old is getting to snotty age where she tries to talk all teenager and is too cool for her little sister. It makes me sad. I miss the time when the 5 year old was a baby and the 7 year old was 2 and in love with her baby sister. She wanted to hug her and lay down with her all the time. I have the most adorable pictures of the two of them snuggling.

    Also 5 seems to be a real pain in the ass age. Both my kids are so frustrating at 5. When they were babies, they were really easy. All they wanted to do was sit in my lap and I could make them laugh on command. They looked at you like you were God, and their world revolved around you. Now she looks at me with rolled eyes and snot in her voice. GRRRR!!! I miss my babies.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    My baby, affectionately referred to as Pumpkin Pants, is a couple weeks shy of one year old. Then no more formula… =D
    Also, my goodness, his personality is a delight. He’s so silly and I already can tell he’ll have a great sense of humour. He’s been sick and even though he’s grumpier than usual, he still finds things to smile at and laugh at all day. He’s charming and engaging with people and very confident.
    I was not aware of these things, obviously, when he was a newborn, although he never was huge on cuddles. And if you can’t cuddle a newborn, then where’s the fun? Now he’s fun. We can do so much and I love every new thing he’s able to do.
    Although I was going through his old clothes and I held up his 3-month-old jammies, which he was wearing at 1 month. It amazed me he was ever that small. And I got a little wistful. Not because I’d have those days back, but… I don’t know what it is. Just an acknowledgement that time is passing quickly, I guess. Nothing marks the passage of time like a child.

  • shorty_RN

    I have been so lucky to have a nice, easy baby, but man-oh-man do I miss sleeping through the night! I think I will miss the baby stage when it’s over, but I will also be relieved. Sometimes the days are soooo looooong.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I also have an easy baby, and yes the days still are long sometimes.
      I feel for the parents of more challenging babies. I’m such a lazy fart, I would have tanked it as a mother if I’d been given a hard infant.

  • Kristen

    My daughter is 8 months, and I already miss the squishy snuggly newborn stage. I love to watch her developing personality, but I love babies too.

    My husband will not miss the baby stage :) I’m fairly certain of that.

  • Brittany Anne

    I completely agree. My son is 10 months, and I feel like I’m finally starting to genuinely enjoy being a SAHM. I think his blossoming communication skills are key. I mean, he has a vocabulary of three or four words and can sort of vaguely point in the direction of things he wants. But even that little bit makes our day-to-day lives so much easier.

  • Edify

    I have a 3 year old and a baby. I would take an extra year of baby in exchange for skipping 3. Holy moley.

    • Natasha B

      I agree 100%

  • anne

    I have a different take on this I’d like to share….For me, ever since I’ve been old enough to remember, my mom has been lamenting how much she missed when we were babies or how much she missed when we were younger. On Christmas morning she’d complain that we weren’t in our pjs and screaming about Santa. On birthdays she’d complain that we no longer wanted to go to Chuck e Cheese with just her and our family. I’m almost 30 years old and she will text me picutres of me and my siblings as a kids and say “im crying and kissing all your baby pictures, why cant you be small again? its not fair, god!”

    to me, its always made me feel very inadequate or like im hurting in some way by growing up. The truth is she doesnt want relationships w me or my siblings as adults. she doesnt want to talk about our jobs, get to know our partners, share about books, dreams, politics, etc. she wants to put us in footie pajamas and turn on seasame street. sounds funny but its true. she will openly tell my out-of-town sister “im not here to see you, i just want to see your baby”….okay, who doesnt love a cuddly baby, but why dont you also want to spend time with your adult daughter? take her to lunch, talk about marriage/parenthood, anything? i already see it having an effect on my 10 year old sister..she acts much more juvenline around my mom (baby talk, whining, nonsense chatter, etc) and i know shes doing it bc my mom likes it and enocurages it. yet the REAL her is so much more interesting and fun than that.

    i get bethanys point for sure adn definitely understand commenters’ nostaglia and missing days gone by. i just wish people like my mom better understood that babies arent little stuffed animals for you to mother and get happy feelings from. They are human beings who grow and develop and each stage is precious and important. shes missed out on so much because she cant let go of the past and be in the present.

    • Bethany Ramos

      This is so great, thanks so much for sharing! There is a part of me that feels guilty whenever I say I “hate” a certain stage, even though I’m just being honest. I think it’s perfectly fine for a mom to feel however she wants to feel, once I get over the guilt. :) But this really puts in perspective how important it is not to emphasize one stage over any other, whenever that may be.

    • Cara

      Yes. This so much! I agree….I think it is ok to like/dislike certain stages and even be nostalgic for certain stages. But i HATE when people say directly to kids “STOP GROWING!” or something to the like. Totally puts them in a weird position, makes them feel like you love them less now or something. Ugh. Yuck. So awful that you have had to go through this. I have a similar mom, although not quite as extreme.

  • Justme

    As I was cuddling my friend’s newborn little girl last night, I was missing the “baby” stage…but then the baby pooped and I didn’t have to change the diaper. No more missing the baby stage for me.

  • Scdz2010

    I will NOT miss any of it. I can’t wait til my baby starts walking and talking. She’s a very very high needs baby she wants to be held by me only all day if I hand her over to dad or grandma she screams and cannot be laid down unless I want to hear her cry forever. Extremely colicky at the beginning I was terribly depressed. I am just now starting to sleep she’s 6 months and my hair is finally growing back. I have bald spots from the stress of the colic. I do not wish colic on anyone!!! It truly took away from the joy of having a new baby. Needless to say I doubt I will ever have anymore children!

  • Beth

    I wrote about this just last Friday on my blog ….

    http://nothingandeverythingbeth.wordpress.com

    I feel time slipping away, and I so much want to slow it down. They’re eight and six, and they’re so funny and interesting. And watching how they do life is cool. However, I did NOT feel that way when the girls were babies. When they were, say, two and newborn, I thought I might tear my hair out. There’s only so much you can do with a blob and an tiny feral person who still doesn’t quite speak your language. The days WERE very, very, very long.