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.