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Bye-Bye Baby

Bye Bye Baby

My baby is growing up. Wow, is that hard to type! I was combing through my recent summer pictures and found one of my father running through a baby pool with my 22 month-old daughter. I showed it to my coworkers (being the proud mama that I am) and they commented on how big she’s getting. Now I realize this is a pretty typical thing to say of children, but for some reason I suddenly snapped to attention. I took the picture back and really examined it. I searched for clues of my newborn, my baby, or any “baby-ness” at all. I found none. I stared at the picture — at my girl in her bathing suit running across the pool with a big grin on her face, her long legs stretched out, and it just hit me: she’s no longer a baby. She’s a child. My baby is gone.

Now that I’ve officially wrapped my head around this realization, I can see there were other signs where toddlerhood had replaced babyhood — I just didn’t pay attention. My friend and partner, Sarah, is very pregnant with her second child (a girl) and I recently lent her all of my baby clothes. As I sorted through the sizes and reminisced about the three month-old onesies and the newborn T’s, my heart had suddenly begun to ache. But then I heard a banging noise in the adjoining room where my toddler was located at the moment, and I got up to uncover the source of the ruckus. I brushed that baby ache away, and pretended I hadn’t felt it at all.

But I can no longer push these feelings off or pretend, as the documented proof sits in my hand in complete photographic form. Hard core evidence. I have a child; I no longer have a baby.

I can’t even say it crept up on me, or that time has gone so quickly either. I still do remember all the sleepless nights, the formula spills, smelling breast milk and mashed peas and carrots. I have certainly felt each and every day of my daughter’s life as soon as I was able to distinguish what day it was after my labor and delivery sleep-fog. Quite simply, it didn’t occur to me in the day to day passing of life.  Half the time I was just trying to get through and enjoy the day. That was until now, where I sit here taking stock and being forced to change my perspective as a mom. A mom of a child. One who sleeps through the night and eats by herself and drinks her milk and very soon will be peeing and popping on the potty. An actual full-fledged mini-person. 

YES! I did it! I have gotten this far and my daughter is fantastic and beautiful and very opinionated and the perfect version of her. And I don’t have a baby anymore. It’s so strange to have these conflicting feelings inside of me: one of pure joy of bringing her into this world, one of accomplishment for getting her this far, and one of longing for the baby she once was. I wonder if this is what they mean when they refer to the joys and pains of parenthood, having all of these feelings slam you simultaneously. If so, this is probably only the beginning, and I’m probably in for a world of hurt. And joy. And reminiscing.

Author: Amy

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