This is her wakey wakey face seconds after a nap. She wakes so happy.
I know I’ve said it a hundred times over – the time slips by like water through my fingers. I’m not taking it for granted. I’m not wishing away the minutes, the days. I’m trying to hold them close.
And yet I still find myself saying,”How did this happen so soon?” when I see their growing size, their new accomplishments, their milemarkers.
She turned 9 months this week. That’s always a big age for me. 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, a year. They’re big marks on that little timeline and I’m just aghast that we’re there already. In my mind she’s still 4 months old. But all the signs point to the calendar being right. She’s pulling up on everything, she’s been crawling for a good while, she eats finger foods (we mostly skip by any pureed foods), she’s babababa-ing and dadadada-ing. She has 4 teeth fully in and 2 more trying to peek through. Oh my, my heart.
But what drives it home are not the big things. It’s the tiniest of moments.
Y’all know that I’m all about attachment parenting. I not only co-sleep, but I also bed share. And mainly I nurse on demand until I wean. So I don’t have a clue if she would be sleeping through the night right now or not. I tuck her into the crook of my arm like I have since she was first born and we snuggle to sleep. I do this same routine at the main naptime each day as I curl in next to my other two sweet nappers. As for her two other little naps in the day (that mid morning and mid afternoon she’s hanging onto) I’m always close for those as well. The afternoon one is either in the stroller as we take our walk each day or in my arms. And that sweet 9am one is nearly always in my arms. I sit, nurse, and cuddle like this while the other kids whirlwind around me for a bit.
But the other day I had chosen to clean the house quickly and get ready to go shopping while she fussed in her saucer and swing. Then we ran out the door, she grabbed a quick nap in the van, enjoyed shopping this time in the stroller instead of the Moby wrap, napped a bit on the way home, cried as we put away groceries, ate lunch, and prepared the others for their naps. Then, after all that busyness, I curled up in the bed with my 3 youngest to read a book and settle everyone. As she slipped sweetly into sleep folded against my body I realized I had not cuddled her all morning. The thought was clearly,”It’s happening.” I had not taken the time to breathe her in all day. She had crawled, nursed, played, eaten, been picked up, shuffled here, strolled there, but not nursed peacefully to sleep with me all day.
It’s a shift. It’s a tiny moment where I see, very focused, the changing of the tide. All of those inconvenient moments of carrying her everywhere, of wiping bottoms while lugging a baby along, of bringing her along for taking the puppy out, for getting back to the busy flow of life instead the world stopping peacefully to cuddle for hours a day, of life being a kind interruption of her sleep and wake, it’s shifting. It’s moving back to busy. It’s moving back to emptier arms.
It’s so sweet to watch all of the new accomplishments, to see them become who they are. And yet… It’s happening.