I write while the baby nurses or naps. But the past couple days, my mind has felt like a blank slate. All I can think when I look down at my ever-growing boy is this:
He is growing too fast and I miss him too much.
Last week, he learned to clasp his hands. Now he often sits around, hands clasped, like a little old man waiting on someone to bring him lunch. Yesterday, he reached up and pulled the handle that makes the windmill on his swing spin round and round. I used to have to pull that for him. Does he even need me anymore? But then last night, he started tugging at my t-shirt: a baby on a breastfeeding mission, and I was reminded I’m still needed. We’ll probably be the mom and son duo with the son pulling on his mom’s shirt in public yelling BOOBS and passersby looking at us thinking “isn’t he too old for that”? I’ll be the judge.
I hardly realize he is changing every day, except that now it seems he is doing something new nearly every time I turn around. Then I look at pictures and I see the changes there too: him at two days old coming home from the hospital, barely fitting in his car seat; and him now, nearly 15 weeks to the hour, almost ready for the next size up. For a while he was gaining a pound a week; now he’s down to under half a pound a week, but the changes are still visible. He is literally growing right before our eyes. I should know because I stare at him a lot.
I want to soak it up. But it seems I can’t soak it up fast enough because it is going by too fast.
By the time I go back to work in February, I will have had 24 weeks at home with him. By America’s standards, I am incredibly fortunate, but it is still not enough. If and when he goes to college, it probably still won’t have been enough. I’m already mourning things that have yet to come: my first day back to work; his first day of Kindergarten; his wedding day. I’m going to try really hard to not be that mom, but I make no promises.
The days and nights (even middle of the nights) we have together now are some of the best times I will ever experience as his mom. Especially this time of year. My husband and I will never have another first Christmas as parents again. We hope to have a baby’s first Christmas again, but this is our first (and only first) as parents, so I’m trying to capture every memory while also living in the moment. It’s weird how some of your happiest times are the ones with the heaviest of clouds hanging over them. Because I know these moments are fleeting and we’ll look back one day in the not-too-distant-future and for years to come and wonder where they went.
So now that I’ve bummed everyone out about how we’re getting so old so fast, let me say something positive. (But first: I’m sorry. I didn’t know when I sat down to write today that this was going to come out, but it seems every time I sit down to write, my fingers just want to type “where is my baby, where is the time going.”)
Although I have loved the newborn phase and all of its hallmarks (cluster feedings, seeing each other at least every two hours at night, the tiniest of clothes), the infant phase is so cool. Jack smiles because he thinks his dad and I are funny. We play games (mirrors are delightful). And nothing is free from his mouth. Everything goes in there: his Woody doll, his blankets, sometimes my nose. He is trying so hard to sit up by himself, and before we know it, he’ll be sitting, crawling, walking, running, swinging, and all of the other verbs little boys do.
He has also found his voice. He cooed as a newborn, of course, but now he has all of these sounds. Happy sounds, tired sounds, mad sounds. One day he’ll use that voice to tell me he loves me, and my heart will melt. So while I’m mourning the end of the newborn phase, I’m welcoming the coming phases with open arms.
If you’re still reading this, God bless you. I hope Heaven has a special place reserved for readers of blogs whose writers ramble on far too long. If it does, you’re going there.