Monday, October 22, 2018

Baby Steps

Hi, my name is Courtney and I'm the mom of three children.

Not babies. Not toddlers. Children.

How did this happen? (I must have blinked)

Logically I know this has been unfolding slowly over time, but in my heart it feels like it was just sprung on me. We potty trained Miller and took down the gate at the bottom of the steps, and POOF, here we are...a house full of kids.

In thousand different ways, I totally love it: I get to sleep in (I mean...relatively speaking),while they put on their own Netflix, I only have to wipe a bum like, four times a day instead of 400, sometimes they tell actual jokes that are actually funny... But in other ways I'm struggling with the transition to this new big-kid life.

For almost seven years I've had a baby in my house; a little diaper-clad tyke (or two) toddling around. We had "two under two", and then three under four (and then five under six for a hot minute that I barely remember). For years we've been buried in baby gear, baby toys, baby books, baby clothes, baby...everything. And sure I realize that in many ways my youngest hasn't really been a baby for some time now, but there is something about having kids "3 and up" that just feels different. It's been a little hard for my brain to adjust to the fact that the little people that inhabit our home aren't actually quite so little anymore.
I pack up out-gown clothes, and wonder if anyone will wear them again... 
I browse library shelves, and realize my stack of "keepers" is too heavy on the board books, and too light on the early readers... 
I go upstairs at the end of the night and my muscle memory walks me around the baby gate that is no longer there... 
I put toddler clothes back on Target racks because I can no longer rationalize that I'll get years and years of use out of them....
This stage is new, and unfamiliar, and keeps taking me by surprise.


Parents often talk about whether or not they're "done" having kids. Some moms (or dads) just know. They have a sense of contentment and confidence that their family is complete. OH, how I envy that. What would it feel like to just know? Just be? Just live?

But I'm much more unsettled. In this, and really, in all things, always...

In so so so many ways, I am DONE (no thank you pregnancy, or nursing, or the "4th trimester" that for me seems to last a year/the entire rest of my life). And in others, I can't even fathom the idea that the baby days may be behind us (Animal hooded towels! Those alone are reason enough to have 17 more babies!) Every time I pack up another bin of tiny clothes or primary colored gear, I run through alllll the feels:
Sadness that these precious things aren't a part of our daily life anymore.
Guilt over the hoards of things I have in storage, for.... what? when? who?
Shame for my "silliness", and inability to just move on, and let things go...
I don't want my kids to stay babies forever. But I'm also not sure I'm ready to be done with babies forever. Our path is unfolding forward and as much as I adore the glimpses of where we're headed (I do! I really do!) it also hurts to leave the world I know and love.

It's all very "yes and...", in the most heart-wrenching, complicated way.


And so...what do I do? OH WHO KNOWS? I hem and haw, and pine and wonder...
But through it all, I try to notice and adore. To soak up these last bits of babyhood whenever I encounter them, just in case they really are the last bits of babyhood.
I wrap her up in the flamingo towel she loves, because I know it will be an instant before she's showering on her own and doesn't need me to dry her sweet strawberry scented head. 
I negotiate arguments over lap space, trying to adore the underlying idea behind the bickering: they still want to be close to me. 
I record the silly, quirky things they say, preparing for the day they'll suddenly know how to pronounce "aminals" correctly.
I take pictures- mental and physical- of him in his crib...the last true relic of the baby days that remains...for now...
I know no matter how old they get, they'll always be my babies. And I know no matter how old I get, I'll always be a baby about certain things. (And I for sure know why moms cry at baby showers every time someone opens a copy of "Love You Forever"). For now (/always), I'll just be over here rocking my babies back and forth, back and forth as we move into new stages together...

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