Thursday, March 10, 2011

Baby Steps

L turns 10 months old this month. I can’t believe it, but it’s true.

I knew watching L grow up would be harder on me than the first two. I mean after all he’s my baby. For J, I knew when she was born that I would have more children, so watching her grow was exciting and new. For H, he was such a colicky baby I prayed every night he’d grow up fast! So I never had those feelings that most Moms have about feeling sad about new stages. I embraced the new and looked forward to each day.

But my feelings about watching L grow are different, simply because he’s the Caboose, my youngest child. Once he is done with the baby swing or car seat, instead of being stored in our basement it’s donated. When the buttons on his dinosaur jammies handed down to him from H won’t snap anymore, off they go to another owner.

Now I’m not stupid. I always knew that when I was done having babies I would be sad. I love babies, I love being pregnant (well except during the summer), I love being a Mom. In fact, when I tell someone that L is our last baby I am usually met with eye rolling and scuffs of “Oh, you’ll have more…it’s who you are”. Sure, I have always dreamed of a large family…but unfortunately I have to live in reality and in the real world three is the maximum we can do. It strictly came down to economics…daycare is overwhelmingly expensive and we could not afford 4 daycare bills. Raising children is expensive, college is expensive. So although Todd accepted this much easier than I did, we made the painful decision after L was born that he was it. Three was our magic number.

So far, I have been happy about our decision. I look at L and feel complete inside. His pregnancy and C-section were incredibly hard for me, so it does feel good to not have to go through that again. And L is the best baby to end a wonderful run with. So, I have actually been better than I thought watching L grow. When L outgrew the 0-6 months clothes, I happily packed them up and took them to Salvation Army, excited to have some extra storage room in my basement. When L finished baby food and turned to table food I was actually happy I didn’t have to look and smell Baby Squash and Peas. I have survived sitting up, rolling, and crawling with nothing but sheer happiness. I started to think… “Okay maybe this will be easier than I thought”…

That was until recently. Just as L turned 9 months he started to pull up to objects. After about 2 days of standing proud against objects he started to walk around objects with ease. Now it’s his favorite activity. He is the King of the Coffee Table and loves walking around his activity tables.

This past weekend I noticed that L started walking from object to object and often stands only with the support of one hand. Wow those changes mean he’s going to be letting go with both hands soon. As he smiled in self-pride at me while he was doing this and waited for me to cheer and clap like I always do…I was overwhelmed with sadness for the first time. Seeing him stand there, mere months away from walking was the first time it hit me that I was about to say goodbye to the baby stage forever. He was changing from a baby to a toddler before my eyes.

There will be no more pregnancy tests, no more first kicks, no more ultrasounds, no more newborn baby smell, no more first smiles, no more rocking forever in the rocking chair. I’m not ready to close this chapter of my life, no wait yes I am…I’m flip flopping everywhere these days.

And to make matters worse, L’s baby stages have gone so much faster for me than for my other two kids. I feel I’m missing things merely from the fact that I am pulled in 1000 different directions. It used to seem to take J and H months to master a trick…L masters it in mere days. The second you get used to him standing up, he’s moved on to walking around things; army crawling on Monday, crawling into the next room by Tuesday.

In just over 2 months I will be sitting at L’s First Birthday Party. I can’t believe that. I have always heard people warning to enjoy every minute because kids grow so fast…I really didn’t understand this until now. It’s so true.

I can’t stop L from growing up. So as he is learning to take his first baby steps…I’m going to take some too. That’s the only way I’m going to get through closing this chapter and moving on to the next…Baby steps. I’m sure as we take these steps together L will need to hold my hand for support. Little will he know I'll be one holding on for dear life.


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