Thursday, January 17, 2008

Growing Up

I've always loved my babies. I know for lots of moms the infancy stage is full of colic and crying and blowouts and all sorts of craziness, but I've really lucked out. My babies are pretty easygoing. They go to sleep when I lay them down, they generally eat when they are supposed to, and they smile on demand. They smell like heaven, too.

But I've noticed a big difference in the way that I approach mothering my third baby versus the way I mothered Veevs. With Veevs, I couldn't wait for each milestone. I fed her rice cereal the very day that she turned four months. I checked her mouth religiously for new teeth. I put her in a sitting stance early, and eagerly took my hands away, watching her figure out how to balance, how to stay upright. I had her cry through the night at four months. I would position her in crawling stance so that she could get a head start. I took her pacifier away at one year. I encouraged her to stand, to walk, to eat new foods, to clap her hands, to hold her own bottle, to drink from a sippy cup. Basically, I encouraged her to grow up.

I don't think what I did with her was bad or wrong or mean or anything. I just do it differently now.

I've cherished Wristy's baby moments more. I've been okay with the fact that he only has two teeth at ten months. I've cherished holding his bottle for him while he drinks. I've loved snuggling him to me in the middle of the night, and I just barely (at nearly ten months!) had him cry it out in the night. I don't care that he only army crawls; I think it's adorable. I didn't start him on solids until he was almost six months old. He thinks a sippy cup is a toy, not a drink. I hold him more, and let go less. Basically, I encourage him to stay my baby.

I look around at first-time moms that I know, and I think it's pretty common to do what I did with Veevs. It's so exciting to see your little one figure out the world, take their first steps, eat their first bite of real food. But I won't ever get my baby moments with Veevs back. She'll never go back to laying on my lap looking at me with her baby eyes that seemed eternally old and wise. She's growing up. It's still fun to watch. It's still amazing to see her figure out the world. I love every stage she's been through. I just wish I would have enjoyed each stage for all it was worth, instead of trying to push her into the next one.

Baby Wristy is lucky, I guess. He gets a mom who knows that he'll grow up on his own. I love his babyness--his rolls of fat around his arms, his soft baby hair, his delicious cheeks that I just want to eat. There's no need for me to push him. I'm just along for the ride.

I guess I've grown up a little bit myself.


Celia and Scott said...

I love this post. It kind of made me a little verklempt just thinking of my wee ones, who are growing up way too fast. But I did that with Ruby too. I held her for her naps, or laid down with her, until she was almost a year! She now naps on her own, which is good, but I miss those times. It's weird how with babies you heart aches like they've already grown up, even if they're still small and cradled in your arms.

Jen said...

Parenthood is the best.

Tiger Lamb Girl said...

I was ALL about the fingers and yummy toes when mine were babies. My son is 10 1/2 now and still has a hint of baby-fat-fold in his upper thigh. (he's very lean - not an ounce of fat really..but that hint of the crease where the fold used to be gets me everytime I snuggle him).

Lovely post;).

kelly said...

Katie H. told me that I'd like your blog, and she was right.
I have three kids too, and I did it just like you did. My third is almost two and I haven't totally gotten rid of the bottle, but I don't care! With my first, it was gone at 12 months to the day.
Also, I don't mind so much if he drops his sucker on the floor. I brush of any visible dirt and in it goes.

Leisha said...

So true. There are benefits to being oldest and youngest. I'm the youngest of 6 siblings and I think I will always have a 'youngest' mindset.

I didn't get to enjoy Jacob's babyhood very much because he was a livewire from the moment he was born. Fortunately, Rachel was the sweetest baby that ever was and I cherished every second (hence the 5billion pictures I'm now going through and deleting!)

Great post!

Mandy said...

How true and what a beautiful post. Luckily with Jaden I realized I can't push him, he does everything on his own time. That forced me to cherish these moments more. I hope I continute to do so. Thanks for the reminder to take in every moment!!!

I love to read your posts. Take your amazing talents and write a book please for everyone to enjoy. You have such a gift.

Texas Mommy said...

That was good to read right before this new baby gets here. I felt like i took my time with Audrey. I tried not to push her too much, but i know I did because I was so excited to see her get bigger. Now with this new one, I will probably enjoy the time much more because I know it goes by fast.