“Just enjoy him now. He’ll be here and grown before you know it, so don’t blink either.”
This is what I heard more times than I can count while I was impatiently awaiting the arrival of our first babe. I can tell you that this comment, and those like it, did not help my impatience – like, at all. I just wanted to meet, hold, and love on the little person growing inside of me. And time seemed to stand still. Why couldn’t time move faster?
Fast forward five years and three kids.
Now, I am trying to figure out where the time has gone and how to keep my eyes from drying out as I make a valiant effort to not blink. While I am basically at standstill with the whole dry eye thing, I have come up with a few ways to freeze moments. In an effort to slow time and preserve my eyes, I…
Journal. This is something I started when our son (the oldest) was about nine months old. Already then, I felt the time slipping away from me and wanted to remember more than the baby book prompts. So, I started journaling the funny things he would do, his trials and triumphs, and how I felt about it all. With my girls I took it one step further and bought actual pregnancy journals so as to not forget anything about that portion of their life.
My memory is not great – just ask my husband – so the journaling helps me remember all the things. I do not limit what I write in my journal to just the happy/cute moments. I try to write it all down – the happy times, the times I was scared out of my mind for them, and even the times I had a less than stellar attitude about things.
I want to remember it all, or at least be able to look back and jog my memory on it all. Like when our son was two and knife = sife, hamburger = hangabur, and Gatorade = Power Gatorade. We actually still refer to it as Power Gatorade, because let’s face it – Power Gatorade is way cooler. Or how our middle daughter refers to our old dog, Reese, as Reek. And how everyone is a “little dinker” – a.k.a. “little stinker.” And because she is likely our last, I journaled like a mad woman whilst pregnant with our youngest daughter, detailing every little kick, flutter, and wonderful discomfort I felt.
Take lots of photographs. Growing up, I razzed my self-proclaimed shutterbug mom about taking too many pictures. Seriously, for my brothers and me, it was like we had our own personal paparazzo following us around. But now, I am guilty of the same thing. I am rarely without my camera or my iPhone. This way I am able to snap a photo at a moment’s notice.
For example, the other day my baby daughter pulled herself up for the first time and right before I pushed her down because she is too little to be doing that (just kidding I didn’t really do that), I snapped a photo. Then I journaled because all of the photos go right along with the journaling like the illustrations of a book. I wrote about how cute she looked standing there so proud of herself. And then I threw a few lines in about how sad I was in that moment because the baby who I was just pregnant with yesterday is really a mobile almost nine month old.
Savor the everyday and their littleness. When our son was a babe, I pushed him to rollover, to crawl, then to walk and talk. I was SO excited for him to hit every milestone. But then our middle daughter came along and I started to get this uneasy feeling that time was moving way too fast. So I did not push her the way I did with our son, I let her do things on her own time, savoring her littleness for as long as it lasted. Which as it would turn out, suits her personality just fine.
We also had rules when our son was little, you know, so he wouldn’t get “spoiled.” The main ones were that he slept in his own room all of the time and that he had an eating schedule. Now our youngest daughter – she is a completely different story. We, but mostly I, want to hang on to every fleeting moment of babyhood that I can. As a result she was three months old before she moved out of our room and into her own room, and now at almost nine months, she eats when she pleases and still refuses anything but breastfeeding… Sometimes, I think I’ve created a little monster, but then I bask in her need for me because I know all too soon she won’t “need” me anymore.
I do what I do to help me hang on to the fleeting moments of all of the stages of my kids’ youth. The journal helps me remember all of their little quirks and “isms” and the rush of feelings I get watching them grow and change. The plethora of snapshots are so that years from now, when the kids are all grown up, I will still have photographic evidence of a time when my babies were really babies. But no photo or note in my journal can compare to the feeling I get when I just put it all down and savor the everyday, basking in their littleness.