1. We survived our first extended car trip with the baby. It was a medium-distance jaunt to New Jersey for Seth's family's annual Hannukah fest.
2. During this road trip, I survived my first public restroom diaper change, at a rest stop on I-95. Honest to god, my knees were shaking, as I awkwardly schlepped Helene in her car seat through the throngs of Northeasterners carrying hot coffee, and doing some paranoid eagle-eyeing of anyone coughing or sneezing within 30 feet of my child.
3. I also managed the Superfund cleanup of the first official diaper blowout. This was, unfortunately, also at the above-referenced I-95 rest stop. I still have not figured out exactly what type of physics of force or trajectory or high-pressure compressed gas results in the baby having poop all the way up her back, dear god.
4. I have been peed on for the first time. After Helene was weighed without her diaper at the pediatrician's office, I didn't put her diaper back on before picking her up. Total rookie mistake.
5. I can wear most of my regular clothes again. The official tally is that I'm 10 pounds away from pre-pregnancy weight. There is an awful lot of....squishiness yet to be resolved in my midsection. I try not to think about it too much. I just focus on the proud moment when a favorite pair of pre-pregnancy jeans actually zipped and buttoned. This is however, the only pair of real pants or jeans that currently fit. They have therefore been worn a lot, and have been, uh, exposed to a lot; see, e.g. Nos. 3 and 4, above. I really need to get some more pants.
6. We took Helene to both New Year's Eve and New Year's Day parties. She was awesome - mostly sleeping in our arms and being thronged by many admirers for the duration of both events. Go baby!
I'm usually opposed to New Year's resolutions. I just don't do them. Most of the time when people make them, they fall by the wayside in mere days or weeks, and they're just empty promises, rather than real changes. On the other hand, anyone who knows me knows that I will doggedly stick by a word or a promise or a goal, sometimes doing so to the point of ridiculousness, or at least major inconvenience to myself.
Seth talks to Helene about her 2009, and tells her what her resolutions will be: that she will hold her head up, that she will crawl, that she will walk.
My resolution - one that I instantly, automatically, instinctively made when I held my tiny newborn baby in my arms in the first days of her life - is to take care of Helene. When I watch her sleep, she is so peaceful and so tiny and vulnerable, and I fiercely, desperately want to protect her from all dangers. My heart already breaks, as I imagine days and years to come. I already dread the first time she gets sick, and I won't be able to take the illness or pain away. I hope she has her father's eyesight, so she doesn't have to be a nearsighted little girl with glasses, as I was. I hope she does not inherit her father's asthma and allergies. I know that we overcame these hurdles, and that we are fine, healthy, productive members of society, but it just kills me to think that she might feel that pain or anxiety or discomfort. I want her to be lucky and bold and confident and blithe and strong.
A few days after Helene was born, Seth held her, gazing at her face, and said, "When she gets older, for the rest of her life, I'm going to look at her and see this tiny little baby, aren't I?"
Yes. Oh yes. In an instant, we became parents. I look at my tiny sleeping baby and resolve to do the best that I can.