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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Back to the Swaddle Again



My sister and her husband just welcomed another baby. Everyone is thrilled. Even though babies are born every day, it still fills me with wonder to see newborns—so small, but completely formed little people. They are fragile and strong, simultaneously. I am full of awe, gazing at the tiny human being that my sister grew inside her body. Holding my nephew for the first time is something that’s hard to put to words. It’s beautiful. It’s deeply meaningful. I’m in love…

Now there are two little boys in our family: my older nephew is seventeen months, and my new nephew is only a couple of weeks old. Until the new baby arrived, my older nephew looked like a baby. Now he looks giant—a little boy who wears pants and shoes and has tons of hair and suddenly is the big brother, even while in many ways, he is still a baby.  But I suppose in life many things are relative.

I wrote a blog post when my older nephew was a few weeks old. At the time, my role as aunt was brand-new and I was still pinching myself to see if I was dreaming. These days, I’m accustomed to being an aunt: to noticing the small changes in my older nephew—the growth of his hair, the development of teeth, his milestones…I no longer pinch myself. It’s a dream to have nephews, but I’m wide awake.

It’s a joy to experience it all over again with my new baby nephew. I see photos of him swaddled snugly in a blanket, his body content to be curled up and cozy, as he was in utero for nine months. Swaddling involves wrapping a baby in a blanket, so that he or she is warm and feels safe. The swaddle technique comes back to you, even if it’s been years. I still know exactly where to position a newborn on the blanket, how to wrap, and where to tuck in the end of the blanket so it will stay closed. A lot of these skills bob right back up to the surface when you’re holding a newborn again. And some tendencies never seem to leave. I still find myself swaying at times while waiting in line—literally moving back and forth because I swayed while holding my own babies for so long. I don’t have babies anymore but I still sway. Go figure.

My sister and brother-in-law definitely have their hands full. They are blessed with two sweet, healthy boys, and are so grateful for the babies. But it’s a lot of work. Harder than when I had mine three years apart (and that was hard!). Still, as I tell all parents with newborns: it will get easier. It really will.

I’ve asked for advice for my sister from friends who had babies close together—eighteen months apart, or fifteen months apart. They don’t deny that it was tough at first, but they offer encouragement to parents in the same position. They talk about how emotionally close their kids are. The kids bonded well, played together, and shared so many stages. During those tiring months with a newborn, it’s important to have faith that the hard times now will give way to a close-knit bond between the kids. It will get easier, and it will be wonderful.

The title for this post came to me while I was out walking. For a few days I’d been pondering title ideas and this one surfaced when I wasn’t thinking specifically about it. Nice when that happens. Now, if you’ll sing along to the verse I’ve written, it’s to the tune by Gene Autry, “Back in the Saddle Again.”

We’re back to the swaddle again
Out where the diapers never end
Where the newborns feed
At slow or fast speed
We’re back to the swaddle again

I love singing funny lyrics. But on a serious note, I feel so thankful that the baby is safely here, that he is doing fine, and is giving all of us a chance to experience again the joy that a baby brings. All of us are so happy to welcome this darling boy into the family. We are delighted to be back to the swaddle again… 

6 comments:

  1. Beautifully put. I agree. Wesley is our baby. So small in comparison to his siblings, but picking him up at daycare where he is the oldest, and he's such the big boy! Life is amazing that way. So glad to be apart of it and to have experienced it 3 times! But also happy to enjoy others' moments now. :-)

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  2. Thanks, Adri. I look at my oldest and marvel at all the changes since birth. Kids change so much on the outside but they change us on the inside...

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  3. So gorgeously written, Sar! Thank you so much 😄 aw I just love this blog... I'll cherish this. I'll print it out for Sawyer to read when he's older 💗 can I go back and find the blog entry when Maine was born? Xoxoxoxox

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  4. Hey, super mom! So glad you liked this. He's such a sweetie and we love this tiny guy so much...

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  5. I've only seen pictures so far, of this sweet little guy, but I'm already feeling attached, as a new great aunt, once again. Laura, you did a good job! And Steve, you are the proud papa, once again! And Sarah, congrats to being an Aunt, once again! I love your account of swaddling, and motherhood, and what a special gift it is. Can't wait to see Sawyer, in person! Love, Great Aunt Eileen

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  6. Thanks, Auntie. He is a sweetie and a gift to us all...

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