A few months ago, we had our third baby. It was almost four years after we had his brother and six years and two days after his sister was born. There is so much you forget when you are raising children, even if it is just a year or two after your last.
I'm not sure it's so traumatic you block it out, or if each stage is so quickly surpassed by the next, leaving little time to remember it all.
Whatever the case, there are a few things I was reminded about in those first weeks with a newborn that I had completely forgotten until I was living it again.
1. How tiny they are
The main comment that came from everyone who saw our 3.2kg (7.3 pounds) boy was: "You forget how tiny they are." You truly do, and it's because they don't stay that small for long.
When I went to kiss our boy for the first time, his face was so little it felt like I was about to eat his nose. So long spent staring at the tiniest of moons on the most incy fingernails.
Fast-forward three months and he's a whopping 8kg - now no one can believe how big he is.
2. How long it takes to feed them
In those early days, for me anyway, it's basically an hour. At least. Who has an hour to feed a baby when you have other kids to deal with? They're supposed to be fed and back to bed within an hour. But then they do a poo or one of the other kids has a drama so you head off to deal with that and boom, your one hour feed has gone well over time – as has your own window to shower, or eat.
3. How crucial a burp or fart before bed is
Never underestimate the power of gas. Don't get it out of them and your baby will wake up screaming after 10 minutes, or because they have puke in their ears - or they just won't go to sleep at all.
4. How difficult it is to do anything else
Washing sits in the washing machine waiting to be hung out. A kindy fundraiser recipe book I bought and was so keen to look through sat beside me on the couch for weeks, even though I was sitting down next to it multiple times a day. Where does the time go?
Even when there was a window to do last night's dishes, I was still so sore and tired. I felt like I should have a nap or a shower, or have a snack myself, to aid my recovery.
Life in this stage is a series of never-ending tasks that don't quite get completed.
5. How soft their skin is
The day he was born, I touched his face. So, so soft. How can they have such amazing skin? Collagen, I suppose. I touch my own face to compare. Sandpaper.
6. How they slow everything down
Time slows down. Babies make you very present. I would lose time staring at his tiny eyelashes, how they had grown since the day he was born when they were barely there.
How his dark eye colour gradually lightened up to dark blue, just like his siblings' did. How the milk spots he was born with on his nose slowly disappeared. How I marvelled at how soft the velvety hair on the back of his neck was.
How the tiniest of tiny beads of sweat glistened on the teeniest of hairs on his forehead and head as he sucked on a bottle, so desperately needing calories he seemed to burn up as he ate.
I wondered if this is why mothers react with shock to tattoos and piercings? They still see you as this perfect little bundle of pure, innocent perfection.
Why would anyone tamper with that?