Holding On...Not Too Tightly

Finn is taking much longer to leave behind his babyhood than did Asher. At first I thought it was just my perception, my reluctance to let another child slip from the cuddly sweetness of an infant to the rambunctious rough-and-tumble of a toddler. But no, Finn is legitimately less eager for independence and adventure. At 13.5 months, he still crawls everywhere. He's been capable of taking a couple steps since his birthday, but prefers all fours. He still needs me to nurse him to sleep, still likes to be swaddled, still takes two naps a day if I let him. And I'm okay with that. I insist that he stay my baby, and he's complicit. 

I dread the day that I'm done having babies. There is so much joy and anticipation and wonder at inviting new little ones into my family—who will they be? I have found nothing more euphoric than cradling a newborn. And yet, I've a feeling there are hidden delights around the bend of parenthood.

This week the weather unexpectedly sent my sister and niece my way for a night, along with three others who were traveling to Kentucky for a national speech tournament. Their stay was brief, but I got to observe my sister and the coach advising the three student competitors. I reveled vicariously in their speeching, bouncing Finn and wrestling Asher while they delivered their pieces in my living room. I watched my sister finely tweaking her daughter, the nuanced instruction feeling a million miles down the road from the rough corrections I must make on a minute-by-minute basis ("Don't sit on your brother!" "Shoes are not edible!") And when they left, I yearned to go with them.

My children will grow. Bigger, and further from me. Sometimes it will be a jubilant process: Asher has not had a potty accident for three days, and yesterday was my first time taking him to a movie at the theater! Other milestones will be bittersweet: I don't know how much longer I'll be able to nurse Finn; we are both holding on. But I look forward to the opportunities that new vistas hold. And I try not to be too sad.

 Luckily,  The Jungle Book  was not too scary for Asher, despite some truly unsettling scenes. But he was ready to leave well before the end. Next time I'll get him popcorn!

Luckily, The Jungle Book was not too scary for Asher, despite some truly unsettling scenes. But he was ready to leave well before the end. Next time I'll get him popcorn!

 Unlimited kisses are my fee for nursing. He doesn't seem to mind.

Unlimited kisses are my fee for nursing. He doesn't seem to mind.