People say “it happens so fast” and I get it. It does. But I didn’t really get it, not really, until these last few weeks. Our one-and-only is turning 13 months old this week. Holy cow. I mean, I was just pregnant! She was just born. She was just being swaddled and learning to coo and hating tummy time. She. Was. Just. Born.
A few weeks ago the daycare told me she was considered a “pre-toddler” and asked if she could start practicing taking her naps on a low-cot instead of a crib. What? I felt tears well up in my eyes and my heart started racing a bit. Seriously, that was my reaction. Over a crib. For naps. At daycare.
Other things are occurring that I do not think I’m fully ready for. While she’s still not walking (stubborn little lass, she is) she is starting to stand up and take steps – lots of them with support. She is “dancing” and shaking her head “no” and responding to sign language prompts and even doing some signs of her own for birdie, airplane, monkey and all done. She has recently started crawling ON the coffee table – that’ll be fun – and pushes her cart (or anything that slides) clear across our house to where she wants to go. She plays “peek-a-boo” and is eating pretty much every solid food she can get her hands on – same as what we eat for our “adult” meals. She drinks out of a straw cup and does a pretty darn good job with a spoon. She is napping less often and eating less breast milk, but does still breastfeed regularly (thank goodness, I love those cuddles). She is almost out of her 12 month clothes – almost. She has 11 going on 12 teeth. She has had a bout of Roseola and came through the fever and the rash smiling, no worse for wear.
My baby. My little, tiny human is starting to not be so little and tiny. Her personality is big. Her smile, even bigger. Her hugs and her cuddles fill me up with a love so strong and complete that I almost don’t know what to do with the emotions. But, she is growing up. And it’s happening so quickly. I know that preteen and teenage years are, truly, very far off. I get that. But I cannot help but look down that rabbit hole – the one in which I see that today she just started crawling and isn’t walking, but tomorrow she could be. Any second now she could be and then that is one more milestone we check off and can’t get back. One more way in which our baby will be a little less of a baby.
My nephew is 15 and just started drivers training. I have a picture of him on my office wall from his early birthday, covered in cake…it seems like just yesterday that he was a tiny human. Now he’s a young man. Learning to drive a car. He’ll be going off to college in just a couple of years…sigh.
I am going to miss all these firsts. I know there will be other firsts. I know that. I know those other firsts will be just as fun and magical as the firsts we’ve already witnessed as parents. I guess I’m just hoping I can slow down the hands of time, just a little bit, to hold onto these precious early years a tad bit longer. The only way that I know how to do this is to just live each and every moment in the moment. To that end, this morning I nursed her in just a diaper and her socks (which she tore off a few minutes in, a new favorite game…) and realized that in the mornings we are often in such a rush to get out the door to work, she’s already dressed and ready to go before I nurse her – or still in her jammies, if I’m running a bit late. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a moment with her looking just like a “baby” in her little diaper and chubby little legs. It was a nice moment. I kept my phone off and didn’t get on Facebook or Twitter or check my email. I just enjoyed that moment, slowed down, took it all in. Enjoying that moment with her was a perfect start to my Monday.