in a few weeks, my oldest will turn 14. and my youngest will turn 3.
i’ve come to terms with the 14…she’s growing, she’s a teenager. i have accepted that i am the mother of a teenager, and in a short while i will be the mother of many teenagers.
what i’m having a bit more trouble coming to terms with is that i’m no longer the mother of babies.
this is no secret, i’ve talked about my troubles leaving this phase of life before. but now…it’s here. for someone who’s gone through the last 14+ years feeling like there would be no end to the “baby phase”, this is rather…off-putting.
it’s a mental and emotional change—rewiring our parenting minds from things like sleep and potty training to, well…big kid stuff.
it’s a physical change—less stuff to lug, less people to carry, less physical effort in general involved.
and i’m finding that it’s also a literal change to our home. i’m giving away/throwing away/donating actual physical THINGS that say “there’s a baby in this house!”
hooded ducky towels that don’t even cover the wet bottoms anymore, let alone wrap an entire body.
random tiny socks, smaller than my hand, lost and stuck in hidden corners
the last nursing bra shoved in the back of my drawer
one last partially used package of diapers
sippy cups (with their stupid stupid perpetually lost valves)
touch and feel books…i love those fuzzy lion manes and sticky frog feet more than my babies i think
and every time i load the dishwasher and make the choice to throw away that one random baby spoon somebody found in the back of the drawer and used for cereal because all the other spoons were dirty…it hurts.
it’s not the thing that hurts—the actual item going into the trash.if anything there’s almost a sense of relief associated with that—getting rid of clutter is one of my favorite pasttimes. no…it’s the loss of the “there’s a baby in this house!”, and then all the other things that that means i’m losing…
soft and slightly sour milk breath
open mouth slobber kisses
chest to chest naps
milk drunk babies nursing the air
those first drunken wobbly steps
dimples on chubby knuckles, and wrists, and feet and…everywhere.
that squishy crinkly sound it makes when they walk with a diaper on
our house has no more pairs of those Sweet Pea bag-style jammies…i always loved them for easy nighttime diaper changes. and painfully, our house has no more baby talk. elliot has been an amazing talker from the get-go, but in the past few weeks she’s just taken off. words are pronouced correctly—not in that garbled way that’s music to a momma’s ears.
words have become sentences and they in turn have become entire paragraphs and stories. she just said to me “these are my favorite shoes. i love them. i can put them on. but i need you to buckle them.”
i know i could bookend this post with thoughts on all the fun yet to come. the new things we can do since we don’t have babies dragging us down anymore (ha!). but that’s not where i am this rainy morning. right now i just finished folding a load of towels, and obstinately put those last faded, torn hooded towels back in the clean basket. i’ll go kicking and screaming.
the best i can right now is maybe think of some things i won’t miss.
baby proofing (who am i kidding…i barely did any…)
passing clothes on, instead of packing them away for little siblings (ugh, that takes FOR-EH-VER)
giant pieces of baby “equipment” in every corner of the house (jumper, exersaucer, swing, car seat, crib…it goes on and on…)
annnd that’s about it.
i suppose i could say things like “oh i can sleep through the night”, but that was never a huge deal to me. right now i’m wearing those rose-colored glasses which are the root cause of things like “second babies”.
in a way i hope i never lose this longing for babies. i’m thinking maybe i’ll be the awesomest grandmother ever? i think so. i just have to bide my time in this space of babyless-ness. where i do things like sleep. and cruise. yeah, i think i’ll be okay.