Now that we are parents I think we are treated somewhat differently by people we know who have been parents for a while. We have joined the club, as it were, and are going through the same joys and challenges they had. No matter how good you were with their kids, until you have a child of your own you're still a bit of an outsider.
Of course, you're still a newbie yourself when you have a newborn, and while the more experienced parents can relate to what you're facing (the feedings, the diaper changes, the interrupted sleep, etc.) there's still that hint of finding your worried responses to what are ultimately common things babies go through (the crying, the odd noises, the fussy moments, etc.) to be quaint.
However, it occurs to me that while part of that is based on being happy they're not still getting up at 3 a.m. to feed, another part is a latent envy of having a baby that small. Everyone I know with grown children advises us to enjoy these times now, because "they grow up so fast." As challenging as these early days are, there is still something very special about having a little one who is vastly different from day to day, where the tiny milestones seem monumental, where the most modest of accomplishments (such as getting a fussy baby to stop crying) seem greater than anything else you've done.
I'm sure as babies get older and develop more personality it's marvelously fun to see them become little people with whom you can interact on a level above merely cuddling and singing lullabies (even if sometimes, as I've done, those lullabies are unconventional—Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Starting Something", the William Tell Overture, the theme from "S.W.A.T.", "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window", etc.). However, there must be nostalgia for these early days after they have passed.
I'm sure I'll be experiencing that soon enough (both the new joys to come and missing the joys from now), but for now I reveling in how while spending some time with my son this morning a little giggle and several smiles from him have already made it a stupendous day.
And at that point I'll be viewing the next set of parents to be adorable.
These are the good ol' days.