Tuesday, February 24, 2015

"I Had You Just Yesterday..."

The Headlines:

My son turned 4 a couple weeks ago...

It went way too fast.




There are short little terms for the stages we go through in life...  you know them, we all do.  Newborn.  Baby.  Toddler.  Little boy/girl.  Big boy/girl.  Preteen.  Teenager.  Man/Woman.  Husband/Wife.  Father/Mother.  Grandpa/Grandma.  We hear and say them all the time.  In one word, you can signal to the world where you're at... and just as fast as those phrases roll off your tongue ... do the stages seem to flutter away.


My son was born at the end of January - four brief years ago.  He's now up to the stage of little boy but as I look back on those four short years I wonder how we even got here...?  How did they fly by at the speed of light?

It's as if I'd like to take each day by the neck and just hold it... for a moment so we could all catch up!  I promise myself all the time that I will enjoy everything but that's hard.  I want to live very purposefully but then I have to make breakfast, return emails, drive kids to dance and baseball practice.  That's not special!

Or is it?

Yes, life with our babies begins the second they land on our chests, crying and cradled for the first time.  From that moment on it's as if we're on a race track.  And every stage of life is whizzing by.

Newborn

This stage is fuzzy for all of us, isn't it?  Those sleepless nights make the days confusing and weeks run together.


It's all about feeding, playing, sleeping, diapers, feeding, playing, sleeping, diapers... laundry, errands, playing, sleeping, diapers, feeding, friends and family visits, playing, sleeping... you get the drift.  Over and over.   The breast-feeding, if you choose to do it, is the only thing you talk about with anyone.  Your boobs, sadly, have never gotten so much attention.  From everyone, by the way, because their gigantic... but they also hurt - we could go on here but that's a whole other story!  Do you remember the first bath?  That was traumatizing for us... I cried harder than she did!


Speaking of... if you have a crier, like my little boy was... the sound of silence has never been so golden as in this stage of life.  It was also at this point I had back pain, lots of it.  I got massages almost weekly because I carried my babies EVERYWHERE.  To stand upright and alone was oddly fulfilling.  It's during this time that your life doesn't feel at all like your own.  Instead, there's an extension of your body because they rely on you so very much.  It's also during this period that if you're lucky enough to grab some time by yourself... it feels un-natural, dare I say, downright wrong?  I remember walking around during this alone time, looking at people pass me by, wondering in my head:  do they know I have a tiny baby at home?  Of course they didn't, nor did they care, but I did.  And while I yearned to get away... ironically, I wanted just as much to get back.

This is the stage you feel so exhausted you can't wait until it's over.  But as fast as you wish it - it will go away.  The first few months are a complete blur but so very special.  And they will never come back.  Once it's gone your newborn is a

Baby

Here, the personality starts to come out.  You begin to find yourself right along with the baby.  The smiles aren't just gas.  They're communicating with you.  Babies love to do raspberries with their mouths and sleep in the car.  They're more fun now but just as much work.  Especially if you're still breastfeeding.  Throw in pumping and forget about it.  Your life is no where near your own.  You get excited about all the "firsts":  Rolling over, eating new foods, those giggles - a tooth!  And what about that first word?  When you hear Mom (or Mamamamamama) for the first time - it makes it all worth it.

Then they crawl, stand and eventually walk.  Once they hit, 18 months to 2 years... that's when they start to get a little easier.  Your life has little glimmers of its old self.  Yes, the goal here is hopefully, at the end of this stage you will once again get a full night of sleep.  And, if you choose, drink wine on multiple nights of the week.  That is when life begins to regain a sense of balance and it feels amazing.

But also depressing.

When the baby stage is over - it too is gone for good.  Unless you have another (which is why I think some of us do, at this point)!  We already miss it.  While it was so completely consuming it was also liberating at the same time.  So we yearn for more - we can't get enough.


Toddler

This is when Mom and child get out more.  You go to the park, shop on short excursions, enroll them in "Little Gym," go to the library or attempt church more often.  Perhaps even go out for dinner here and there.  But let's not forget it's also when their little bodies are on overdrive.  They want to do everything, go everywhere, learn, move, talk and explore.  You, as their parent get to experience the world with a new appreciation.  You see it through fresh eyes and you're in awe of the splendor.  It's here where you get to remember the potential of a blank slate: the joy of the taste of ice cream, the fright of a man named Santa Claus and the interest in a body of water.  The toddler makes new friends and has no enemies.  Mom is Queen and Dad is King and life is simple yet divine.

It's in this stage where the real "fun" begins.  The naps end, the tantrums start and the whining gets out of control.  They're saying sentences and you can understand, most of, the words.  The other ones are so cute you don't want to correct them anyway.  They're actually listening to the stories now at night as the crib is put away and snuggling in their bed begins.  Breast feeding is now officially over and there are 5 babysitters in your contact list.  The crying, when you leave the house for the night, has stopped (if it took that long - as it did with my second child) - and balance has officially settled in.

Little Boy/Girl

It is now that an era has ended.  Mourning (for me at least) begins.  The "little-ness" is gone.  The naps you used to long for are now just long gone.  It is in this stage they are speaking in full, very clear sentences, explaining emotions, having conversations and asking intelligent questions.  I can barely carry my now 4 year old as he's almost half my weight.  This is the stage we are currently in with my son and it has gone way too fast.  He is going to pre-school and becoming much more independent.  They're so impressionable in this stage.  Everyday he is "modeling" himself after moms/dads/grams and gramps.  See what I mean in this very short video below... he's carrying his own I phone (it doesn't dial - it's one of our old ones).


He also talks about getting married and being a dad all the time.  His personality is fully forming and while he's a little boy - it feels much more likes he's a little man.  He rides his scooter, bikes with training wheels and swims on his own - I expect him to get his driver's license next week (not really).   He's even on a T-Ball team.  Yet, he's only 4 years old.  The same age my daughter was when I had him... just yesterday.

During this stage it seems as if they barely need you anymore.  But I remind myself, they do.  I know this because as my daughter continues to climb through the stages listed above - she's 8 - and what I consider a "big girl" - yet she needs me now just as much as she needed me then.  In different ways.


Sigh...  The other day BP (the husband) told me he "couldn't wait until our son was out of the (3 point harness, big a--) car seat and into the booster."  I understood his reasoning: they're big and a pain to store, we have 2 of them, attaching them in cars and taking them out is annoying.  But I warned him, be careful what you wish for - our son will get out of that seat when's he's 5, not a day earlier.  So no more car seat means no more 4 year old.  It means kindergarten will be nipping at his heals, it means he'll need us even less and develop attitude more.  It means he will be a 5 year old and I'm just warming up to him turning 4... so let's not wish it away.

I had him just yesterday.