It came so much faster than I expected. Having been through it twice before, I know how fast that first year goes. How quickly that tiny, squishy, helpless newborn becomes a walking, talking, tantrum throwing little person. A toddler. But it’s almost here.
My third, and most likely last baby turned 11 months old today. I posed him in his room for the last set of “through the month” photos. I struggled to get each shot as he rolled, squirmed, grabbed, and crawled out of each frame. It’s starting already. Each day he moves more and more away from babyhood and into toddlerhood. He’s babbling, close to walking, self weaning, and becoming extremely strong willed and fiercely independent. These months passed so very quickly. This is it, these last few weeks are all I have left of being a mom to a baby. Possibly forever.
The last few weeks of sweet baby cuddles, of carting him around on my hip everywhere as he snuggles into me because he can’t walk on his own. The last few weeks of watching him explore his world from the floor. The last few weeks of feeling the weight of him curled up in my arms as I rock him to sleep at night, and deeply breathing in the sweet smell of the top of his head. That scent is already fading. You know the one. It’s like a drug. The edible puffy cheeks, the oh so pinchable rolls. The last few weeks of his face lighting up with excitement every time I enter the room. I’m struggling to hold back the tears as i write this.
For the past 6 years, I’ve been a mom to babies. Having three kids in five years, I always had a baby or was planning or pregnant with the next one. So much of my identity is wrapped up in being a mom to littles. And now, for the first time in 6 years, I’m facing the fact that I may soon have to find a new identity. To add insult to injury, my oldest started kindergarten last month as well. I’m officially becoming a mom to bigger kids. My littles are becoming bigs. Life is transitioning. The baby toys, clothes, and products will be given away or donated. Eventually. When I can emotionally handle it. The crib, for the first time since becoming a parent, will have to be taken down and stored or sold, not just cleaned up and redressed for the next little brother to be. It takes my breath away just to think about it. I have to try not to.
Of course, there are definite advantages to being past the baby stage for good. I look forward to being done with diaper changes, teething, and lack of sleep. I’m excited to do more traveling and activities with kids who are more independent and able to take part in the fun. I look forward to getting back some of myself, and being able to explore new roles and interests in my own life. I like watching my kids grow and learn and develop their own strong and individual personalities. There are a lot of advantages to each new stage.
But oh how I’ll miss the babies.
So for these next few weeks, whether they be 2 or 20, I’m going to struggle to say goodbye to the baby and hello to the little boy. I’m going to hold him tighter, cuddle him longer, breath him in deeper, while shedding a few emotional tears. Like his brothers before him, I’m going to love him fiercely and forever with all that I have, this last baby of mine.