Posted on January 8, 2016
When time stands still
As I rocked (quite vigorously I must say) my baby to sleep and attempted again to get the dummy into his mouth I thought to myself “Ughh I can’t wait till he is older and we are through with this shitty stage”. I thought the same as he yet again pulled his brother’s wooden toy kitchen onto his head, screaming and wailing as a big egg formed above his eye.
Ughh can’t we just skip the pulling-things-over phase and go straight to the can-balance-without-destroying-self stage?
Can’t I be done with breastfeeding? I want him to be able to take a bottle so I can go out, or better still – drink water out of a cup so I don’t have to keep washing bottles.
I do it less with my older son but it’s not unusual for me to think – I can’t wait until he’s old enough for sleepovers. Or – It’ll be good when he’s big enough for the top bunk so we can move Ham in and they can share a room.
I often find myself thinking – I really want them to be at the play-independently-and-read-a-book stage. Just long enough for me to fill the dishwasher and drink a coffee that’s actually hot.
And then my Eddie will say “I want a hold?” and I will scoop him up and be shocked by the weight, how his legs now skim past my knees. How can those little arms fit right around my neck when fat little fingers could barely meet before?
And when he fiercely says “No I do myself!” and puts a warning arm up at me. I watch as he pulls his gumboots on, a huge smile forming as he relishes his independence.
I remember his first shoes, soft and green with a little dinosaur on them. How he was so tiny when he first started walking that he used to rest his head behind my knees. Those little shoes scuffing along as he took tiny steps, arms reaching out for me. How he used to put one arm around each leg.
I remember how I struggled to put those gumboots on only a few months ago and thought – ughh I can’t wait until he can do this himself.
I remember when he was born and could fit in a shoebox. And now he stretches out on his bunk bed, a million soft toys around him. But icy the one he loved the most when he was tiny, chewed ear that saw all of his teeth come through, is discarded now. Replaced with TeddyBear and Sally and OtherSally (I have no idea).
And when I look at my enormous baby tearing across the room on all fours and I can’t remember when he first started crawling because I feel like we only just welcomed him into the world yet he will be one THIS MONTH. And he’s going to walk any minute now and how is it possible that a baby that was just born one minute ago is walking.
But his first 11 months were the longest 11 months that ever existed.
And I want time to stand still just as I want it to rush on. And it does stand still, hours and hours are so long and exhausting and you’re rocking and shushing or negotiating or calming or cajoling and it takes days but you see that it’s minutes.
How is it possible that minutes feel like days but a year is gone in a minute?
I don’t want my babies back, but I want them to stay my babies forever. I am so immensely proud when I see my son do something he’s been trying to do for ages – taking the pen lid off, or writing an E, or remembering what comes after eight. But I also fight the urge to say stop! You’re my little baby! Stay with me, baby.
And I want my baby to walk as much as he wants to walk, but I know I won’t be able to pinpoint the moment those fat little legs stop being so wide and unsure with their steps and became sturdy and strong.
It’s the nature of these lives we’re privileged to watch unfold in front of us. In a heartbeat the moments are gone but it doesn’t matter so much when your heart is full.
You can’t trap a moment and keep it with you. Our babies are too busy to take time to let us get misty-eyed.