I remember the first time I sat in my brand new car. I was 17 and had just arrived home from a college tour of the UC’s. My mom opened the garage and inside was a green Acura Integra with a big Happy Birthday! sign my dad had drawn. At the time, nothing could have smelled better than the new faux leather, plastic, and rubber – all surely cleaned with toxic chemicals. Whatever – it was a new car and it was mine all mine. Okay, it was really my parent’s car and I had to leave it when I went off to UCLA; but, for that very moment, it was mine all mine. I’ve always thought nothing could smell sweeter. That was, until I had a baby.
Have you ever smelled the top of a baby’s head? It’s the ultimate mommy drug. Your baby was colicky for the golden hour, which was really the FIVE hours you had planned on making dinner, eating, and relaxing after a full day? One sniff of your baby’s head and all is forgiven. The smell wears off as your baby grows. This is, no doubt, directly related to the fuller nights of sleep and diminishing crying spells. You don’t need the drug to sooth all your mommy anxiety.
At this point, it becomes dangerous. I suggest all moms who do not want to get pregnant to cover their noses around new babies. One of my friends came over this morning to say hi and drop off a cappuccino (love her!). However, my usually coveted caffeinated beverage cooled as I held her baby girl. “She smells so sweet,” I exclaimed. The first sign of this drug taking over your body is the thought that getting pregnant again right now would be no big deal. In fact, it would be glorious, a blessing, the bestthingintheentireworldtheend. If you should find yourself in this situation, please follow my example and gently hand the baby back to her mother. Immediately.
Of course, this morning one of my best friends delivered her beautiful baby boy. I went for a “quick visit” this afternoon. You know, just to drop off baby and big brother gifts. I immediately headed to the bathroom to scrub up like a surgeon prepping for a heart transplant. Never mind my friend or her husband, I just said hello, congratulations and held out my arms for the baby. Good thing he was wearing a cap, because his baby smell was almost palpable. I promised myself I would only stay 20 minutes since his grandma was taking care of Avery downstairs. Darn regulations prohibit babies under 1 year from going up to the maternity ward. (And I had been so excited for Avery to meet her 2029 Prom Date! ;) I, literally, watched the the clock tick away the last 3 minutes, swaying back and forth in a figure 8 with this precious baby all swaddled up in my arms. I gave him back and stayed an extra few minutes to hug my friends goodbye – I’m not completely rude!
Tonight, after Avery’s bath, I put her in her pajamas, zipped her up in her sleep sack, and held her close while I swayed her in a figure 8 and hummed Hush Little Baby. When she rested her head on my shoulder, I tilted my face down to smell the crown of her head. On her last night as an 7-month-old, she still has a faint new baby smell. That sweet scent that makes the feedings, stinky diaper changes, the shower I ran out of before I had a chance to shave because she started to cry, and her whining as I strapped her in the car seat all melt away. We still have a few months (days?) until she’s not my little baby anymore.