My child grew about six inches overnight, I'm convinced. Rory’s a deliciously chunky baby with little thigh rolls and no real neck. I know that in no time at all, she'll be sitting on her own and I can’t deal. Yesterday, I came home from work and saw her feet poking out of her rock-and-play!
I look at my son - who is learning new words every day and is so grown up! He's actually pretty darn small for his age, but in my eyes he's SO BIG! Shep’s energetic and rowdy and has no time for cuddles. Nowadays he's more of a fan of drive-by kisses. Time has disappeared, right under my nose. Not so long ago, Shep was as tiny as Rory.
Moms develop superpowers. They can see around corners, through walls, and can hear mischief (which others perceive as just "quiet"). But the one superpower that has evaded us all is the ability to stop time. I'd like to pause this moment in our lives - where Rory is sweet and smiley and stays in the place you leave her, and Shep is helpful and smart and generous with kisses. Perhaps it's because I sense the coming of the terrible twos. More passing time will eventually steal away my little toddler and turn him into a young boy. My perfectly potato-y daughter will start moving around on her own. The world is not ready for her. I am not ready.
With no plans for more babies in the foreseeable future, I sometimes wonder if this is as big as our family will ever be. I look into my daughter's sleepy eyes as she nurses and am struck by the thought that this might be the last tiny baby I can call my own. And these tiny days? They go so fast. I suspect this is by design, so the sleepless nights and raw nipples are only a small part of parenthood. Still, the sweetest quiet moments with a sweaty, heavy baby snoozing on your chest? There aren't enough of those for a lifetime.
I used to look forward to snuggling my newborn, and now I look forward to seeing that same person run down the hallway and fling himself at my knees. No one has ever been so excited to share their day with me or even just hang out together.
Maybe that's because I'm a bit of a kid at heart? Having children is a very adult responsibility, but it's also an awesome opportunity to shamelessly play. For kids, playtime is learning! When I pretend to build trains from blocks with my son, I'm nurturing his imagination and my own. The drama in my life takes a backseat to this moment of joy and discovery. This is the highlight of my day, the pressure valve release that I need to get through those hours at work. Shep's eyes sparkle and he giggles and smiles, and I can't help myself but smile back.
Rory is just starting to "wake up" from that fourth trimester that is the first three months of life on the outside. Luckily for me, she's still pretty immobile and mostly just wants to eat, sleep, and poop. I find myself getting frustrated because I can't keep the same pace I used to - there's no "swinging by the store". Everything takes longer when you have to juggle someone who fills up your arms. When I feel myself getting irritated and anxious, I look at Rory and remember that stillness can be a virtue. That it's not just ok to slow down and rest; it's necessary.
Maybe if I slow down enough, I can slow time. I don't want to blink and have this moment become a memory. For maybe the first time in my life, I don't want to rush through to a future better time. How can it get better than this?
Do you feel like time has sped up since you became a parent? Are you ever overwhelmed at how quickly your kids are growing up? What do you fear you'll miss as they become older?