One of the best bits of advice we received before we had the little guy was, “remember, everything with a baby is a phase”. This could apply to the things you like (such as his attempts to “hug and kiss” us right now), and the things you do not like (such as his cowlick-y behavior the first few months). The person who gave us this advice had gone through 4 months of challenges with her first child just before our little guy was born, and she basically explained that even if it feels like an eternity (for the not-so-fun stuff), it will usually not last more than 2 weeks.
So, this was my mantra at 2 in the morning when the little guy was crying, when he was grunting his way through the nights, or when he would not go to sleep without his mom. It has been my mantra during all the hard times with him, when he is doing things that we cannot figure out, or when there is a bit of fussiness that is not normal for him. For example right now, he is super hesitant (and cries) when he is around strangers for too long (I think it is a side effect of no longer traveling around the city with the familiarity of my parents). He is also a little fussier and more opinionated about his needs. On the one hand it is part of him getting older, and on the other hand it is definitely a phase to see him crying when people interact with him like they always have in Hong Kong. I guess we also need to remember that part of the “passing” of those phases is that we as parents are learning more about him and his needs every day – so the phase might not “pass”, but instead we just incorporate how to deal with it into how we live our lives and it is no longer all-encompassing.
One thing that is hard about the transient nature of the phases of babies is the hard part of seeing those “good phases” go. For example, there used to be a spot on the little ribs that if I touched, he would squeal with joy forever – not so much any more. He used to like the bouncer chair – also not really a fan. He likes laying in his baby gym (and since he cannot crawl yet this allows me to do things around the house with a little freedom while keeping an eye on him), but I know this too will pass. The hugs I mentioned above are something so special I can’t even describe it – I do not want them to go. The kisses (more like chewing on my face, but you know what I mean) are also fantastic, even if they leave me full of baby saliva.
So it is bittersweet to know that everything is a phase. But I guess that’s life too, right? As the song goes, “to everything, there is a season”, right? So I guess it’s a bit of advice that can apply to the big picture too – everything’s a phase, so if you don’t enjoy something, don’t worry, it will not last forever. And, if you do enjoy some particular moment in your life, it is also a phase, so memorize it, photograph it, bury it deep inside of you so that you can never forget it. I think if you look for the “good phases”, you will start to see more and more. And if you collect those good phases in your memory, your life will be a pyramid built on the good phases in life, and by the end of your life, it will be filled with a life richer than all the gold in Egypt’s pyramids together. Plus some baby saliva 😉