Derek and I just watched an interesting documentary about how our mind perceives time and motion. It talked a little bit about how/why time flies when you're having fun and why a watched pot never boils.
I've been told by many parents how fast the first year goes and how much faster each year seems to fly. People (usually people with older kids) talk about how envious they are of my little munchkins, how cute they are and how they long for the days when their kids were little. Friends and strangers tell me how lucky I am to have babies in the house.
I'm sure I'll find myself saying the same things to new parents before I know it. However...
In about 10 years, when I long for the newborn/infant/toddler times, I want to remember this --
Dear Michael of 2023,
Hey, it's Michael of 2013. Remember me? Probably not since most of 2012 and part of 2013 was a blur. Let me refresh your memory a little bit of what life was like.
I have to start in about December of 2012 because I don't really have much of a memory of April through November. You didn't get much sleep for those 8 months. Actually, you didn't get much sleep for over a year. You know how you get to sleep at least 6 or 7 hours in a row these days? Well, back in 2012 you only got to sleep about 2-3 hours at a time...and that's if the boys were on the same schedule. If they got off then welcome to being awake for 20 hours at a time. I do remember that day. Twenty hours of being awake. Say it with me: twenty loooong hours of being awake.
Remember that time you got into the shower, put conditioner in your hair and then forgot to wash it out? No? You don't remember that? Probably because you were practically sleep walking that day. Well, it happened and it was embarassing. Embarassing like forgetting to zip your zipper, calling people and forgetting why you called them and wearing mismatched socks. You did all of those too.
Have you wiped a poopy butt recently? I did. Usually 2-6 times a day. Sometimes it's wasn't so bad. Sometimes it was, well, let's just say pretty disgusting. I won't go into details, but poop can take on all different forms and I saw them all.
I'm guessing you also haven't run out to the store in the middle of the night when it's zero degrees out to buy pacifiers/bibs/formula/anything to stop a baby from screaming. Yeah, I did that a lot. I never knew what toy or pacifier the babies would like so I'd buy them all and just pray one would help them calm down and be happy.
Talking about being happy do you remember when the kids learned to laugh? Yeah, that was pretty amazing. But do you also remember that the kids knew how to scream? Yeah, that was pretty amazing in a totally different way. Who knew humans could scream that loudly for that long? I sure didn't. And what was it they cried about? Oh yeah...NOTHING!!!! Well, I'm sure it was something. Maybe the cat stirred in her sleep or they noticed their favorite book was on the bottom shelf and not the middle shelf or possibly they got the bottle with the yellow cap and wanted the green one. Silly daddy, you should have known to predict every movement of every organism in the universe to make sure they aligned just right for Aaron and Jeff.
Oh, and are you carrying a 50 pound weight all day? I often did. The boys don't understand why you can't carry two 25 pound babies while cleaning a home, cooking dinner, washing bottles and doing loads of laundry. If you put them down on the floor they would scream. At least that screaming had a clear reason.
Don't think I had it all bad. I know that I was lucky being the Michael of 2013. I got Jeff plopping himself in my lap with a book all the time and Aaron playing chase up and down the hallway with me. I got to watch language emerge and laugh when the kids got food in their hair as they discovered the joy of forks and spoons. There were a lot of good times. But I'm a little envious of you, Michael of 2023. You get to decorate a cake with gobs of frosting and candy with your 10 year old kids for Derek's birthday. You get to feel tears well up in your eyes as you watch your children perform in a school play. You get to celebrate with ice cream when your kids compete in a science fair. You get to feel pride when you watch your kids include the "outcast" child on the playground. You get to see the wonder in their faces when you take your children to Disney!
Time marches on and there isn't anything you can do about it. So don't waste time missing the years that have passed. Enjoy what your kids are doing now and get excited about what the future holds. When you're missing Aaron's dramatic look of surprise when Elmo pops out of a box or Jeff's head nuzzling your neck enjoy the pictures, videos and memories of that time. Then go find a screaming, poopie baby and tell his parents that one day they, too, will know the joy of sleeping through the night.
Michael of 2013