Like most new parents, we had grand plans for how “normal” our post-baby life would be. Inspired by our remarkably portable niece, we imagined going places in the evenings, taking her on long excursions during the day, having spontaneous adventures…

Yeah. About that. As it happens, M. very much likes to sleep in her crib, thankyouverymuch, and not really in other places. And I can’t really say I blame her, since the world is a pretty interesting place. But between her preference for sleeping at home and my logistical and emotional need for some semblance of routine from an early date (about which more later), things have looked, well, different than we expected.

But we had one cherished dream for our post-baby life that I’d been unwilling to give up on, even though it’s been on the shelf for a while: taking M. rock climbing with us. D. and I met in a climbing gym more than seven years ago, and through injuries (some serious) and other interruptions, it’s been a major part of our lives (and indeed, has been a part of mine since I started doing it competitively in high school). With precautions and my doctor’s okay, I continued climbing some until I was about 20 weeks pregnant, and I hadn’t been back since then. (D. has been in and out with injuries since then, but has been back a few times since M. was born.)

And then finally, yesterday, it happened. We wrapped up work a little early, picked M. up and headed off to the climbing gym. We alternated playing with the baby and working on boulder problems for a few hours, introducing her to old friends and introducing our muscles to old ways of moving. And when she eventually needed to eat, I found myself leaning against a back wall of the gym, nursing a smiling baby, unable to stop smiling myself.

It wasn’t the greatest night of climbing I’ve ever had. We’re still figuring out the kinks of getting both of us enough climbing time, and my shoes are mindbogglingly tight on my relaxin-stretched feet. Lateral movement on overhangs is… slightly jarring, a searing reminder that I need to keep working on my core strength as my body continues to knit itself back together. But my arms are sore in a euphoria-inducing way, and I felt alive, and alert, and blissfully happy.

But it wasn’t just the pump in my forearms and the thrill of being off the ground that made our night, it really was the experience of being there together. Of getting to feel physically more like my prepregnancy self, sure, but also of getting to feel like the kind of family we’ve always said we wanted to be. The kind who shares the things we love with our daughter, who blends her smoothly into our adult lives (as cute as it is to watch her focus so, so hard on the toys on her exersaucer). I know this may only get harder as she continues hurtling down the path towards being a toddler, which is all the more reason to push myself out of my comfort zone of chaos-avoidance to help us live the kind of life we want to now, before things change again.

Who knows, maybe I’ll have to make an exception to my shopping ban for a new pair of climbing shoes (and to do some research on kid-sized harnesses).

Do you play sports or enjoy outdoor activities with your kids, or have memories of doing so with your own parents?


{ photographic proof of a night well spent, my #febphotoaday self-portrait }

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  • Katie

    If there’s ever a kid, TRS and I have big plans to take it hiking everywhere. I’m not sure I want to be a mother, but I will admit that the idea of TRS with a baby harness up in the mountains makes me feel all smooshy inside.

    • S. of Narrowly Tailored

      (you’d be awesome. If and only if it’s what you wanted! Just sayin’).

      We have high hopes on the hiking front (and big plans for it next week, actually, when we’re out visiting frankly in CO!). It’s probably just me (or not), but sometimes it’s hard not to get bogged down in the logistics of trying to go places with her — this was a good reminder that biting the bullet is usually worth it!

  • BiblioMOMia

    I’m so happy for you!  I think that’s one of the hardest parts of parenting–figuring out how to integrate your pre-baby self back into your new role as mom (and dad).  I still haven’t figure it out, but I’m trying.

    I didn’t know you were a climber!  The Doc was seriously into climbing and mountaineering all the way through college–we actually met thru Emory’s outdoor club.  He got me hooked on backpacking, and we spent our college years living in a house full of hippie-dippy, crazy-smart, crazy-antics-inducing outdoor people.  We both miss it greatly–the hard part about loving backpacking is that it takes so much time….which no longer exists in our world.  Sigh.  You’re making me all nostalgic!

    • S. of Narrowly Tailored

      Thanks! It really is a challenge to figure out, almost as much logistically as emotionally. I know one of the things I’m still working on (a lot!) is my tendency to not branch out and try new things with (and sometimes without) little m. because I just get overwhelmed by the logistics of feeding, transporting, napping, etc. As we’ve talked about, it’s one of the consequences of the lots-of-things-at-once approach to life: because there’s less wiggle room for chaos and more that has to happen, there’s probably a little bit less freewheeling experimentation than might be nice.
      How funny (and awesome!) that we should have that in common! We’ll all have to go hiking or climbing one of these days — I’ve definitely seen kids as young as the Pup playing around at the climbing gym :)

  • Raquelita

    It sounds like a blast! I had no idea that you climbed, but I think I remember that you are a runner? Any plans for a jogging stroller in your near future?

    • S. of Narrowly Tailored

      Thanks — it was! And yup — the jogging stroller features prominently in our future plans. My in-laws generously gifted us a BOB Revolution before M. was born, which we really love. She’s just on the border of too small to go in the stroller by itself while I’m running, but I’ve tried (with our Ped’s okay) running with her in the car seat (which snaps on to the stroller). It works pretty well, but its awfully heavy, so I’m looking forward to being able to run with her in just the stroller soon! In a way, it’ll be good timing — as I’m coming back from my hip injury/postpartum back thing, she’ll be just getting ready to run with me, so we can get used to it together.

  • dotty

    reading this just made me so happy for your little family!  

    • S. of Narrowly Tailored

      Thanks so much, Dotty!

  • Beth S.

    Wow – so happy for you, all three! I think the integration is additionally hard because when you have a little Little you spend so much time just trying to figure out how to be a parent – how to be the world to this tiny soul who is 100% dependent on you (two). It is all-consuming for a while, and then you sort of wake up and realize that you are an adult with needs as well. How to be the best parent to your kiddo and still be who you are (which is really good for the kiddo, too)? I am pretty sure this is a balancing act that will last our whole lives – and, don’t get me wrong, I’m mighty excited about this circus – and, like Amy, we’re working on it…

  • Amanda Casari

    Congrats on making it to the gym with the whole family :)

    You and I are passengers in the same boat of a little one who loves sleeping in her crib. Thankfully, M. will catnap in other places but only if she is really, really tired. We had a bit of a hard time with it for the first few months. Flying with her solo to see my parents for ten days actually made me a lot more relaxed with her non-existent sleep schedule. In my case, I was the one that was more stressed out about it than she was. I highly recommend diving in as much as possible and trusting that you (and they) can adjust.

  • Jen

    Good for you!  Like you, I had all kinds of  ideas on what we’d do with our DD once she’d arrived.  And, like you, my pre-baby visions and post-baby reality were vastly different!  For us, our sport is ultimate frisbee– my DH introduced me to the sport and it’s been our summer “thing” for many years.  It took us a while (physically, I couldn’t run for a long time after delivery) but when we finally got back to playing together, toddler in tow, it was amazing.  Now DD is 5 and we’re working on her forehand throw…

  • M.

    Somehow I didn’t realize that you and D. were climbers. 

    But I really enjoyed reading this post and I’m thankful you shared that pic of you. I think I dream of having outings like this some day.  I”m glad to know that they do happen ;)