I’m 19-months deep into raising my last baby. The very last one I will carry in my womb, rock to sleep at night and handle meltdowns with day in and day out. He’s it. And frankly, I’m OK with that. Let me tell you friend, this kid is hell on wheels. He’s so different from his older brother in so many ways. He’s generally a happy baby, but the second he doesn’t get his way, we’re off to the races.
His older brother has always been good at entertaining himself. I could get some housework done without having a little “helper” following me around with one of my 5,000 vacuum attachments in-hand. I do love to watch him learn new things and physically see him try ideas out for himself, to see what works and what doesn’t.
But, I’m exhausted.
I have to remind myself every day that there will come a day when . . .
He will no longer reach his arms up in the air for me to help him off the kitchen chair.
He will no longer throw his toys in the toilet my husband forgot to close yet again.
He will no longer require assistance with putting his tiny grey sandals on.
He will no longer try to steal his brother’s snack even though he has the exact same thing on his own plate.
He will no longer need to be reminded 745 times in one hour that we don’t bolt for the front yard from the back.
He will no longer come up to me while I’m finally eating my lunch that’s gone cold and ask for a bite, even though he just ate.
He will no longer cry for me in the middle of the night because he hears a scary noise.
He will no longer need help pulling his shirt over his head.
He will no longer be sad when I leave him with his daddy to go run a few errands alone.
He will no longer throw himself on the ground when he doesn’t get his way.
He will no longer climb on the kitchen table when I tell him not to.
He will no longer be home with me day-in and day-out.
He will no longer blow me kisses and say “Bye, Mama!” from his yellow and red Cozy Coupe.
He will no longer look up at me from three feet down with the biggest blue-green eyes I’ve ever seen.
There will come a day when he no longer does all of these things. There comes a day for all toddlers when they are no longer our babies, but have become the children we’ve wished them to be for as long as we can remember.
They become independent, thoughtful and capable of doing all of the things we’ve long hoped they’d be able to do. We don’t think about it much, and it happens faster than we imagine it would. Our babies are gone and they will never return to what they once were.
So, until then, I’m going to try to savor the toddler sitting on my lap with his ratty blanket and take a moment to sniff his still baby like hair and even smile through the meltdowns and the messes because I know, since I’ve been here before, that this will go by so very fast. And before I know it, he’ll be off to kindergarten and onto his big, bright future.
For just a little while I’m going to be the center of his entire world, and he’s going to be my baby, the very last one, just a little while longer.