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Is there a period in your own personal life that you think of as the good old days? Tell us a story about those innocent and/or exciting times (or lack thereof).

Charles Dickens opened Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

This is how I remember having my first baby, and subsequently 3 more in 5-1/2 years. I wouldn’t have traded staying home with my kids for anything — it was the best of times, bringing them home from the hospital, getting to know them, caring for them when they were helpless, and then watching them play and learn, showing their personalities more each day.

Never in my life have I been as tired as I was when I had a baby. Like most women I didn’t sleep well for the last few months before I had a baby (which is typical), and then, especially because I was breastfeeding, the short bursts of sleep never seemed sufficient. My first two babies had colic, and the hours of crying were trying — to say the least. For a couple of months with each of them I cooked dinner with them in a tummy carrier, because I couldn’t bear to just leave them cry — though there’s not a lot you can do with colic but wait it out.

Especially with the first, both my husband and I were all thumbs, and so unsure of how to take care of her. Every But we loved it and as much as we worried if we were doing the right things, we both slipped into parenthood with a passion. I learned quickly that what worked with baby #1 didn’t necessarily carry over to baby 2, 3, or 4. Each one was different, and we would have to learn new techniques to handle each of them. My second one didn’t like the tummy carrier, or being carried facing in — and she didn’t sleep through the night until she was 9 months old. Our only boy was the third, and he was a tantrummer. He was also a boy and very different than little girls in temperament and activity level. Then there was the fourth — she was a piece of cake. She was more interested in her siblings than her parents!

All considered, it as the best decade of my life — when they were all little and their problems (and mine) were much smaller, too. The best of times.