I love my 4 AM drill
Its 2 AM and I have just awaken to the sound of my 6 week old baby uneasily moaning next to me in bed. I know soon his moans will turn into heart wrenching cries. I am tired…. no I am exhausted. I try to negotiate with him for just another few minutes, but he is not having that.
I get up, pick him up and relocate to “the chair”, the one I seem to be spending most of my nights in these days. I feed him, burp him and feed him some more, he seems to have fallen asleep. I very slowly, gently put him back into bed, but before I can reach the other side of the bed, he is awake. I pick him up again
….Its 3 AM.
I’m exhausted. I start pacing through the house, cradling him in the dark. As I sway from side to side in front of the kitchen window, my face turns to his head resting on my shoulder. With my nose against his small, gorgeous, soft head, I take a deep long whiff, and his scent immediately consumes me.
It’s a familiar scent, the same one I experienced with my first child. It is inexplicably intoxicating, and disturbingly addictive. It is completely unexplainable, but immensely satisfying.
I continue to inhale my baby’s head…I breathe him in, and during this time I am blissfully unaware of the time, I have forgotten that I am sleep deprived to the point of lunacy, and I am completely lost in the moment. I think of how blessed I am what hope and dreams I have for him, everything I want to teach him and how incredibly much I love him. I am mesmerized by his soft skin, every perfect curve….his absolute perfection.
Suddenly I am saddened beyond words…..
I know he won’t always smell like “this”. As strenuous as it is at times with a small baby, I will miss it. When it is gone I know I will yearn for this. I have before and I will again. The sleep deprivation will be long forgotten, but I will miss the smell, and how it made me feel.
The baby phase is over too soon. Before you can find yourself in a size 10 again, your precious bundle is 2 years old and you have no idea how you missed it all. The messy hair, dark circles under your eyes and the irrational toddler throwing a tantrum because you cannot fix the banana he just broke are all evidence that you have been there, but it’s gone and you have no idea how it happened so quickly. It’s overwhelming and exhausting, but it’s completely magical.
It’s not just the baby phase, I love everything about having a child, I love being pregnant, the labor, the baby phase and ultimately the absolute joy I get from my children.
I am literally still overwhelmed daily by the joy of having this baby, and I try to savor and enjoy each moment, because I know I will crave it, when it is no more. I know soon again I will be seeking out my next oxytocin hit.
There have actually been many studies attempting to scientifically explain this phenomenon. The non-verbal and non-visual chemical signals for communication between mother and child are intense. Some studies suggest that the odor of newborns, which is part of these signals, activates the neurological reward circuit in mothers. These circuits may especially be activated when you eat while being very hungry, but also in a craving addict receiving his drug. It is in fact the sating of desire.
I agree, and knowing the science behind the feeling doesn’t take away the magic. My babies are my drugs, and I am addicted. And truth be told I am a little saddened by knowing at some point I would have to stop having babies.
But for now I will continue to smell my baby’s milky breath, and feel the incredible Joy and absolute wow every time I do. I will continue to enjoy his perfect little body sleeping on my chest, and I will try to capture and savor every moment because I know this too will pass.
It’s not just the best smell in the world, it’s my favorite thing in this life, and absolutely everything else pales in comparison.