My baby uttered those three little words to me today for the first time. Even though he was most likely repeating what I had just said to him my heart instantaneously melted like butter. He wrapped both of his pudgy little arms around my leg and clung to it so tightly as if he was scaling a big tree trunk, looked right at me, and clearly said, “I love you.” He is nearly twenty months so I know he doesn’t really grasp the concept of love, but those little innocent eyes of his said so much more to my heart. I adore every little thing about him as I do my other two kiddos.
Baby #3 doesn’t have a baby album of his own, and I have seldom printed any of his photos even though I’ve probably taken more photos of him than the number of hairs on his little head. It feels like those sorts of things should have been prioritized as they were with #1 and #2. As a #3 myself I know how he someday may feel sifting through his photos in a random box as opposed to turning the pages of his very own scrapbook made by Mom or looking at his own meticulously chronological albums complete with hand written anecdotes also organized by Mom. He has a baby book, but it is lacking a complete chart of the growth of his teeth and what not. Will he hold this against me someday? Should I be wracking my brain to get that in order at this moment?
He is so independent, yet so even natured for the most part. He has started to adopt the tantrums of a Terrible Two, but when he tantrums I simply say, “No,” and walk away. As I walk away I count, “One...Two…” And at “Two” his tantrum abruptly stops as he starts counting with me. That lightswitch-like flicker of a moment cracks me up every time, and as I smile he smiles. I know it won’t always be this easy to calm his tantruming. Take for instance my eldest who’s approaching the ripe age of eight, his stubborn grumpies lasted at least an hour before bedtime tonight because he was told to stop doing something, he didn’t, so he lost a privilege. That privilege was the ability to play his coveted video games.
I sound old, but as a kid those weren’t important to me. They really weren’t and perhaps it’s because all I had was a joystick with a long wire and one button helping one pathetic looking frog make multiple unsuccessful attempts to dodge rectangles that we pretended were cars on our wood sided TV screen or a yellow pie looking thing that chomped on dots and ghostly looking objects flickering about. I blame bad graphics and my hand-me-down gaming system for my non-addiction to video games as a kid.
Where am I going with this?
I just want my kids to know what their firsts mean to me. Their first cries were magnificently life altering, their first poops were exciting, their first smiles were priceless, their first words were beyond precious, their first steps were exhilarating, their first days of school were slightly gut wrenching, their first lost tooth was a wake-up call alerting me to their loss of babyness, and the firsts didn’t stop there.
I am fearful of their firsts to come - first puberty-related anything (EEK!), first date, first boyfriend/girlfriend, first kiss, first break-up, first bad grade, first time driving (Gulp…), etc. I want to freeze time. How do I do that? I know I can’t, but if I could…
In the moment time just seems to be ticking at a regular pace as we all just do what we do to make it to the next day, but when you step away and reflect on how much your babies change in even just one month it seems that time does indeed have wings. Time has turned my first baby into an introspective, inquisitive, thoughtful, bright, headstrong boy. It has turned my second baby into a girl that’s free spirited, loud, but yet a beautiful sweetheart of a butterfly with a mind that never ceases to amaze me. Today I learned that time has turned my youngest baby into a walking, talking toddler with such an impressionable heart and determined wit.
My children’s firsts will forever be with me. They may not recall some of them, but I sure will. I look forward to hopefully sharing time with them in the future to look back on all of these firsts. Until then, I will celebrate them as they come and joyfully reflect on all of those that have preceded them. My babies are growing. It’s hard to accept, but with that growth my love for them grows just as much if not more.