The Perfect Gift for Mom

12.09.08 Baby's 31st Week

fitp2094004579.jpg Frannyanne/Shutterstock

Nearing the 7 month mark, I've had that 'oh, so this is what they were talking about' feeling a lot lately. Sleep training: you finally get somewhere, your child takes great naps for 2 days straight and is a different, much easier, kid to parent--then you have work done on your house and you have to move into your best friend's living room and your child becomes a sleep-deprived wreck. Cloth diapers: they're cute, they're great for his skin, great for the world, but I'm doing wash every 3 seconds and you know, the ones we got leak. Baby's first cold, Daddy's long weekend in Europe for work. You get the picture.

I now see very clearly how a person could feel haggard, housebound, plump and overwhelmed in that stereotypical mom way. No wonder moms are always being given slippers, bubble bath and cocoa mixes for the holidays. We're desperate for the kind of lifestyle that would allow us to enjoy those things. Alone. For as long as we want.

Right now, I'm Leo's primary caretaker and I'm breastfeeding every few hours all day; The big mug of cocoa, the bubble bath, sleeping in, massage and cushy slippers belong to a lifestyle that's not worth dreaming about. If I take a bath, the cat comes and uses the litter box right next to my head. If I make a hot drink, Leo lunges out of my arms to take a terrifying swipe at the mug. And let's not discuss how many times he has spat up on my formerly fluffy white memory foam slippers.

The gifts I've got are a loving, supportive husband and a bright-eyed little boy who loves to wave his arms around in excitement, and who digs around in his toy box every morning like it's the most wonderful treasure chest that anyone ever discovered. And he's right. This year, I don't need any of those stereotypical mom gifts (unless maybe you were thinking bourbon and bacon?). I need a shape sorting box, wooden blocks, a toy piano, and most delightful of all, the cardboard boxes they came in.

That's right. Next time Aaron stays home with Leo for a few hours, I won't be heading to the spa or lunch with a girlfriend. I'll be hitting the toy store to choose Leo's Hannukah presents, then running home eager to sit back and enjoy the gift of delighting my little boy. Despite all the slogging-through and griping that I do, there's nothing that would make me happier.