My baby turned 1 on Sunday. He's vertical more than he's crawling these days. With his 3 tiny teeth he tears into meatballs and crackers and green peppers with the greatest of gusto. He answers "yeah" to every question you ask him, and is then capable of throwing a head-banging-face-to-the-ground temper tantrum when whatever he has agreed to happens.
He can scream even louder than his brother, and often does. He laughs when Aquaman knocks him down (most of the time), and laughs even harder at the screams that ensue when he gets a handful of Aquaman's thick red curls.
His newest morning tradition (well, before he got sick) has been to wake up just before 5. We take a shower, get dressed, and he leads me, with shrill orders, out the door into the quiet morning. He shows me everything. Rocks I never saw before. Little tiny brown leaves that crunch between his fingers. He finds a pile of dirt peeking out from the grass and throws it up in the air. All around me in nearby townhouses my neighbors are sleeping, or waking up, slowly sipping coffee, reading the paper perhaps. But I'm the luckiest of them all. I'm feeling the wind gently brush through my hair. Seeing the first pink signs of sunrise emerge. Watching my squirmy little baby turn into a toddler, and holding his hand.
Night weaning is approaching, and I am filled with dread at the prospect. I've grown quite used to having very little sleep and constant interruptions. But at least since The Dude's colicky days have passed, and excusing his recent bout with illness, my sleep has only been minimally interrupted by this snuggly little creature who likes to stay attached to me all night long. If I wasn't so terrified of problems with his teeth, I'd probably keep it up another 6 months. Because it has not been long enough yet since Aquaman for me to forget the exhaustion of night weaning.
But mostly, even more than dreading the battle, I am dreading the loss of this special time we've had together.
The day is so crowded with responsibilities. How mothers of more than 2 do it, I will probably never know. Because there just never seems to be enough time. But at night, oh the night, there is nothing but time. And snuggling and kissing and praying and bonding and nursing and occasionally a little sleeping too. I keep reminding myself that only one of these is changing. At least for another 6 months or so, I don't have any intention of changing our sleeping arrangements, just the eating ones. But there's a loss even in that. As a working mom especially, I think nursing has been so special to me because it is one of the few things only I can offer to my babies. And night nursing has brought me some of the most desperate and triumphant moments in my life. I can truly say I wouldn't change a thing.
But the one thing about life, and it's exacerbated by having children and watching the passage of time in their development, is that it's always changing. And I'm excited about this new season in our family's life. Leaving babyhood and stepping out into new adventures.