I don’t write this in reference to me getting older (that’s what my eye cream is for!), but I’ve been experiencing something lately that I’m sure every mom can relate to: I don’t want my kids to grow up.
I know this may sound silly. I remember hearing other moms talk about it before I became a mom, and I just didn’t get it. Why wouldn’t you want your kids to grow up and get older?
Here’s the thing. Porter just turned 3 a few months ago, and Cayia is 8 months. Right now they are these perfect tiny human beings, and it’s almost as if I want to remember them like this always. I remember feeling this way when Porter was around Cayia’s age. The closer he got to 1, the more I freaked out, but with him, this fear of him getting older has been especially prominent lately.
He amazes me every day. He isn’t even a toddler anymore. He is straight up little boy. He wants to do things by himself and he often says things like “No, don’t help me,” or “No, I do it myself.” And then I cry because I feel like he doesn’t need me anymore.
I know he does need me, and sometimes he will still walk up to me and say, “Mommy, hold me?” and if I’m able and not holding Cayia, I always snatch him up in my arms. Who knows when I’ll no longer be able to do that (or worse, when he stops asking.)
The other night we were putting Porter to bed, and he crawled into my lap and put his head on my shoulder, and I swear my heart just burst. I wrapped my arms around him and just hugged him. Sure, his legs were dangling off my lap, but I held him “like a baby” as he says, and kissed his head and cherished the moment.
Porter is so damn smart. I know every parent probably thinks this about her own child, but I am amazed by how much he learns and retains every day. For Christmas, David’s sister bought Porter a Thomas Me Reader Electronic Library. He loves it. All the pictures on the fronts of the books are almost identical, but somehow he can decipher between them. He knows which one is Helpful Thomas versus Thomas Makes a Wish. Truthfully, if I only had the pictures to go off of, and the titles weren’t there, I honestly wouldn’t know which book was which.
He also knows what a semi-circle is. I don’t know why, but I can’t get over this. The other day we were coloring in his Thomas coloring book (do you see a trend?) and on Thomas’s body, there is a semi-circle. Out of nowhere he said, “I’m gonna color the semi-circle blue.” My jaw dropped. Who the heck taught you what a semi-circle was, kid? I then quizzed him and opened to a bunch of pages and asked him to find me other semi-circles.
I am also amazed by his vocabulary and pronunciation of most words. I think most people who met him now would not believe that he was ever in speech therapy. He can say delicious (and it’s so cute because he stresses the lish part), temperature, and ankylosaurus to name a few. He still pronounces waffles like faffles most of the time, though, and while I’m sure I should, I don’t correct him half the time because I think it’s so cute.
And don’t get me started on Cayia. Right now she is the perfect size for snuggling. When I hold her vertically, her head fits perfectly on my shoulder and my arm perfectly under her butt. She snuggles so close, and it makes my hurt heart thinking that she probably won’t snuggle with me for very much longer. (Fun fact: I was looking through some papers the other day, and both Cayia and Porter were exactly 25 inches at their 6 month appointments. I can’t wait to compare their 9 month stats!)
I can’t believe she’s closer to one now than she is to being a newborn. I know a lot of people say they are babies until they are two, but she doesn’t even seem like a baby anymore. At times I wonder what she’ll be like at Porter’s age, or I even try to imagine her 6 months from now, but then I stop myself because I feel like I’m wishing away all this time, and I want her to stay a baby forever.
I spent some time yesterday organizing and sorting some of her clothes that no longer fit her into bins. There were so many adorable outfits that she was only able to wear once or twice, and it’s just hard to believe that she’s changing and growing so quickly. She gives the sweetest, biggest, gummiest smiles. In fact, every day when I pick her up from day care, I rush in to see her because I know a sweet smile awaits me. (Porter is a whole nother story, by the way. He always says “No!” when I arrive and whines that he wants to stay and play with his friends.)
So, most days my life seems crazy, and most of the time I feel like I’m a part of an unwinnable rat race, as I multitask ten billion things as once. This is really really hard for me, but I need to try to slow down and ignore the craziness and the mess, and just accept this phase of motherhood. I need to let Porter stay up a few minutes later, and not think about the dishes when he begs to read “one more book.” I need to ignore the laundry that’s been sitting in the laundry basket for three days on the couch and get down on the floor with my kids instead. It’s going to take a lot of effort on my part, but I know that in a week, a month, a year, I’ll be glad that I did.
While I’ll always see them as my babies, they’ll only be babies once.