People say, "It goes by so fast...." They say, "Just wait..." They say, "They're only babies for a moment..."
And this time, they're right.
When you bring home your newborn and start trying to get settled into parenthood, people tell you to "cherish every moment." This makes you inwardly roll your eyes at them because you're wrist-deep in poop or covered in spit-up and can't figure out why the baby is crying this time. "Yeah," you think, "let me take a mental snapshot. Oh, wait, I can't--I'm so sleep deprived that my mental camera isn't even loaded. In fact, I opened it to load it, but poured coffee in it instead. But thanks for that advice."
When they nap, you might spend a few blissful hours staring at your tiny miracle... or you might scramble to decide if you should eat, shower, or clean something, then wonder if there's any way you could do all three at once. You take actual photos, you may even take videos, and then your friends will start to mock you on social media for bombarding them with visuals of your little one, while your family members request more photos and from different angles. You start to figure out this whole "being a parent to a baby" thing...
And then one day, after urging them to roll over or crawl or take their first steps or say their first word, they just do. You were hoping for the day they'd start walking, and then they just are. You had wondered why they were crying, and suddenly they can tell you. It happens so fast, it's all you can do to take it in stride and continue to help them grow, but suddenly that little baby is gone and a toddler is standing in his place. It's amazing. It's incredible. It's terrifying. It's life.
My husband and I constantly watch Harrison trying something new or just walking into another room and we'll remark, "He's so big all of a sudden. Isn't he?" Then we'll remind each other he's only 16 months old and he's still our little guy. Of course, of course, he's still a baby... but he's not. He's a toddler. He walks, uses a few signs correctly, says a few words, problem solves, responds, reacts. He has favorite TV shows, favorite books, favorite foods, and he can let us know which ones they are with words or songs or signs. He's laughing at things, laughing with us, laughing to himself. Ryan and I will say to each other, "He's a little person now. He's becoming a person."
It's sudden: It takes you by surprise even though you were teaching them all the ways to grow into this new form all along. It's bittersweet: You realize your little teeny baby is now too big to carry everywhere, and doesn't always want you to hold them. It's an evolving love: You fall in love with this little person in every stage of his or her life over and over again, remembering who they were and embracing who they are now. It's why they say to cherish every moment... because every moment flies by.
Until next time... "It’s what you do right now that makes a difference."
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