Leaving the stroller in the car – an unexpected milestone

standard February 1, 2010 2 responses

“Oh, you don’t need that.”M said to our friends, gesturing to the stroller they had just pulled out of the trunk and were snapping open.They looked at him, confusion written on both their faces.

“Uh, honey, yes they do. Their kid doesn’t walk yet, and she’s heavy.” I gestured to the one year old perched on her mother’s hip, struggling to be put on the muddy ground.

Our own two kids were standing nearby, patiently waiting for everyone to gather their things. M looked down at them, light dawning. Little L has been a good enough walker and listener for months now that the stroller has truly become more of a hindrance than a help. A year ago we would never have dared leave the house without making sure that we had a) the stroller, b) the sling, and c) another back-up mode of transportation with us. Today we’ve finally reached a point in our lives where we can just grab our keys and dash out the door. No diaper bag, no stroller, no sippy cups and snacks, nothing but the kids and us.

It’s a bittersweet milestone to have reached. A sign that my little one really isn’t a baby any more. As she’s so proud to proclaim, she’s a “big girl” now. We’ve moved on from being a family with a young child. We’re a family of four; two little girls and two grown-ups, no more babies here.

I’ve been sad these past few weeks, seeing how big Little L has gotten. She’s wearing 3T clothing, talks a blue streak, and does a million other things that prove that she’s no longer a baby. But I mainly notice it when I hold her in my arms or cuddle with her on the couch. She’s all arms and legs. There’s no way to tuck her against me the way I’ve always done. She’s outgrowing her toddler body and morphing into a preschooler and it’s been killing me to see the last of her babyhood slip away.

I grabbed Little L’s hand, C grabbed her daddy’s hand, and the four of us headed towards the entrance of the Marine Biology Center we were there to visit. Both girls skipped along, excited to go pet the star-fish. I clasped the little hand tucked tight in mine and smiled down at the little girl bouncing by my side as she chatted about the fish we were about to see and the massive whale skeleton we passed by the front. As we moved onto the paved sidewalk I heard the rattle of my friend’s stroller behind me. Little L squeezed my hand and pulled me towards the door. I smiled even wider. Going from baby to little girl isn’t all bitter, some days it’s downright sweet.

This post was inspired by the Sunday Scribblings post Milestone. I hope you’ll take time to go over and discover how other writers were moved by the topic.

I miss the time when no one else knew them

standard May 6, 2009 11 responses

This morning a friend who just found out she’s pregnant (One of many right now!) asked me if I was glad I wasn’t the one calling with the news.

My gut reaction was a resounding Duh! Twenty-one months without sleep does not foster any kind of baby lust at all. The thought of another two years of being woken up multiple times a night sends shivers down my back, and not the good kinds of shivers.

And yet, as glad as I am to not be pregnant, a part of me is insanely jealous. Don’t tell anyone, OK? But I kind of miss being pregnant. No, not the nausea, weird cravings, back aches, constant peeing, or wild mood swings. I just miss that oneness with the baby.

For nine (or ten, depending on how you count) relatively short months my babies and I were a whole. It was the two of us, united against the world. During those months I was that baby’s entire world. She didn’t know anything else and no one else knew her.

It’s selfish and shallow and even maybe a bit silly, but I miss being my children’s whole world. These days Daddy is their prince and I’m just in the way. Last week, two days in a row I was summarily dismissed when he got home. Sent away with a resounding “Bye bye! Mommy go! Daddy stays!” I walked away, a bit shocked that I could just walk away and leave them behind.

There are no words to express the love that wells up inside me when I watch my children play with their father. When them run to him in the morning for a last hug goodbye or beg for one final kiss at bedtime I marvel at the bonds they’ve developed over the years. It’s everything it should be. It’s ideal and perfect.

But sometimes I watch them from the sidelines, one hand on my belly, remembering what it was like when I was the only one who knew them at all, and hoping that one day I’ll get to feel that closeness again.

I’ve lost that lusting feeling, for babies.

standard March 11, 2009 5 responses

Blogging about how it’s starting to feel right to be a family of just four got me wondering about why it felt so right all of a sudden.

I used to look at people who proclaimed that they were done, done, done like they’d grown a second head. What did they mean “it just felt right?” How could it ever feel “right?” How could you ever not crave another pregnancy, another baby?

I’ve had baby fever for as long as I can remember. I’ve been babysitting since I was 14 and even before then I’d go all weak kneed at the sight of any and every baby. Babies loved me and I couldn’t get enough of them. I used to freak out my college boyfriend by raving about how sweet babies smelled and how much I wanted one, like, right now. Then he’d go all white and trembly and I’d have to take that back, but I still wanted babies of my own, or babies to hold, or babies to cuddle. I wasn’t picky, I’d even change nasty diapers just for the chance to be close to a baby.

It was baby fever, I had it bad, and it never went away. I couldn’t fathom how it could ever abate, let alone vanish.

C and Little L have the same fever. I see it in both their faces when they spot a baby. Their eyes light up and they instantly start cooing and reaching towards the tiny infant. They take turns rocking car seats. They sing songs and fuss with blankets. And they do it every, single time.

I don’t any more.

I’ve lost my baby fever. I no longer long to hold every infant that comes my way. I have a special place in my heart and in my arms for some particular infants – daughters and sons of close friends and family – but parents can now wheel their strollers by me without fearing an onslaught of baby talk and absurd cooing from me. I still adore babies, I just don’t crave them any more.

I’m not sure when I lost my baby fever, but I think it’s the real reason I feel like I might be ready to call it quits. Even as I write that though I’m shaking my head in wonder. Where’s the girl who ran to hold all her colleague’s and friend’s babies?

I don’t know how it’s possible to not crave another infant, but I think I might be there anyway. This morning I got more excited at the thought of passing off our bassinet than at the thought of meeting the baby who would be sleeping in it.

From the Mouths of Babes: Articulation Lessons from a One-Year-Old

standard February 4, 2009 2 responses
“Meeee na.” Little L said looking at me right in the eye.
“Meeeee nnnaaaaa.” She repeated when I didn’t say anything back.
“Mena? Meena? I don’t know what that is cutie. What do you want?”
“Meena.” Was all she replied.
“Do you want this?” I asked picking up a banana.
“No nanana. Meeena.” She replied, shaking her head.
“I give up. I don’t know.” She struggled to get down from my arms and toddled over to the kitchen table. She clambered up onto the chair and reached her little body all the way across the table to reach the box of Kleenex. Proudly she hoisted one up into the air and turned to give me a withering stare.
“Meeena.” She said, one last time, as she toddled away wiping her nose.

Did you like this It’s my life… post?
Don’t miss the next one! Subscribe via my RSS feed.