When the youngest starts growing up

Although we are wrapping up the summer of accomplishments I feel like I am also saying a bittersweet good-bye to a stage in my children’s lives. This summer my youngest turned two. It really hit me then – this is really the end of “babies” in my life.

Big girl vest!
Big girl vest!

IP is in full-on toddler mode. She wants to dress herself, go to the “big ol’ potty” herself, climb at the park by herself, etc. Instead of saying “Mommy, help me!” she is shouting “Mommy, look at ME!” as she attempts some new feat. We went through this explosive growth of independence with LP too, but at the time I still had a new little baby that needed me desperately for food, warmth, and lots of snuggles. Now, as our second little one grows older, I realize that this is it – there is no little baby waiting in the wings this time. We always wanted two children, and it still seems like the right number for our family for a myriad of reasons. But there is a piece of me that wishes I could borrow a little baby to need me, just once in a while.

Fun with stickers!
Fun with stickers!

Recently we reached another milestone. IP stopped nursing. Just to be clear, she is just over two-years old now (26 months, but whose counting?) She has been just nursing one or twice a day for ages, and it was mostly a short, sweet session before bed or nap. Since it wasn’t onerous to me, and since we both enjoyed it, we kept it going for quite a while. But we had gotten to the point that she didn’t really care, it was just stretching out bedtime, and I wasn’t even home during the day for that second nap-time nurse. So, I just stopped offering, and she didn’t even notice. She has asked about nursing twice in the last three weeks, and both time I told her to remind me later (note for fellow parents – this technique has mixed results. When I used it on LP for other things, he inevitable “remembers” at the most inconvenient time). IP never did seem to care, was perfectly happy with an extra story or two instead, and is wholly unfazed by the transition.

I’m grateful. I have plenty of friends who are dealing with a much more painful and laborious weaning process. But I’m a bit melancholy too. I cried a little about it last week. I’m so happy to have my breasts back to myself, but I miss the special time my baby and I had together, that was really, truly, just us.

We do still have cozy mornings!
We do still have cozy mornings!

I suspect this is how it goes. I was sad and thrilled when LP started preschool, and I expect to feel the same, just more intensely, with IP. When our littlest takes big steps, it is the end of something. The ending itself is not sad, because growth is happening. But it is also a reminder that we will never walk this way again, and I have a much more keen awareness of the importance of living in the moment, so that I don’t look up later and realize how much has passed me by.

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