My baby boy will be two this February. He’s already not so much a baby anymore. He can walk, jump, climb steps, and though he’s not really talking yet, we know that’s just around the corner. It’s incredible how much change can take place in just two years.
In the past few months, John has already abandoned so many of his baby-like tendencies. Gone are the days of rocking John in my arms until he fell asleep. Gone are the days of late-night bottles by the glow of my cellphone screen. Gone are the days of having John’s tiny head on my shoulder and his arms around my neck as we say our bedtime prayers before he goes to bed. Gone are the lazy days of sitting on my couch with John laying on my lap with a bottle in his mouth. All of those wonderful experiences are already in the past for us, and we know that there’s no going back. No re-dos. No time machine.
Sure, there are a lot of things that I won’t miss. I don’t miss waking up multiple times a night to feed John bottles. I don’t miss the incessant amount of rocking that was once needed to get John to fall asleep, or the ridiculous maneuvering that was required to sneak out of his bedroom without waking him up. And I definitely don’t miss getting spit up down my back, or washing poop explosions from clothing multiple times a day, or washing countless bottles every night.
There are times when I find myself wishing that he were just a little older, a little more independent, a little more reasonable. Sometimes I feel that little pang of jealousy when I hear friends and family talk about date nights while their older children stay at home, or about trips that I would never imagine taking with our baby boy. But then I remember just how quickly these past two years have passed, and I know that my little boy will not be little forever. He is already growing up before our eyes, and one day I will miss these moments. There are countless things that I will miss when John has grown up, but here are just seven:
7.) I will miss his squeals of delight as he discovers something new. When you’re only two, there are so many firsts in your life. First trips, first rides, first play dates, first time down the slide, first time up the steps. So many simple things, but for John, they are amazing. I will miss these days, when a simple ride down the slide is enough to make him scream with glee, when touching a neighborhood dog is enough to make him shiver with delight and happy nerves.
6.) I will miss zip-up footie pajamas and sweats with animal faces on the back. I will miss the days of dressing John in adorable little outfits with or without his consent. He’s still at an age where he’ll wear whatever I put him in, and he still wears footie pajamas at night and sweats with animal faces on the bum during the day. Sure, he’ll wear jeans when we go to the library for story time, but nothing beats sweats when you’re just lounging at home. I already miss those tiny newborn outfits, and I can already sense a shift in the near future, as John graduates from 24m clothing to 2t. There aren’t as many monkeys and bears on the butt once you hit the toddler section. And let’s just be honest: footie pajamas are the best for keeping little toes warm (and big ones too). No lost socks in our beds.
5.) I will miss his goofy little smile in the rear-view mirror. Now I know that I still have many years of seeing his goofy little smile from the backseat ahead of me, but we’re about to reach a huge milestone in John’s life: saying goodbye to the rear-facing car seat. And while I am eagerly anticipating all the benefits of being front-facing, I will miss those moments when I catch John making silly faces at himself in the mirror that sits just above his car seat. The kid cracks himself up, which in turn cracks me up.
4.) I will miss his tiny little hand in mine. Right now, John is in this transitional phase between needing me to get around and doing so independently. I still carry him most of the time, and he’s normally perfectly content to wrap his little arms around my neck as we go from place to place. But there is one place where he insists on walking independently: up the steps to our second-floor apartment. Once we hit the sidewalk outside our apartment building, he will inevitably insist on getting down and walking himself. He’ll run to the steps and then patiently wait for me to catch up. I then take his hand, and we slowly make our way up the steps. Sure, it takes twice as long as climb the stairs, but I would gladly sacrifice that time as long as I get to hold my baby boy’s little hand as we do it. I love the feeling of his little fingers wrapped around my own, and how strong his grip becomes as he begins walking up the stairs. I’m not quite ready for him to be independent yet, so he can hold my hand as long as he wants.
3.) I will miss bottle time on the couch. This is already mostly a thing of the past, though I can generally get John to sit on my lap while he drinks his cup of milk in the morning and afternoon. Gone already are the days where John would lie across my lap while I gave him a bottle. He’s too big for that now, but he’s not too big to sit beside me on the couch while he drinks, and thankfully, I am not too busy to need to sacrifice those moments of snuggling on the couch.
2.) I will miss story time in my lap. Right now, it seems like my little boy fits perfectly in my lap. There’s nothing more adorable than when he hands me his chosen book and then plops into my lap so that I can read it to him. I love how close we can get, how I can wrap my arms around him as we read together. When he is too big to sit in my lap comfortably, I will look back on these memories and smile. Or cry, more likely.
1.) I will miss bedtime cuddles in my arms. Up until recently, John didn’t go down into his crib until I was about ready to leave his room. I would hold him in his arms as we prayed our bedtime prayers, and he would wrap his little arms around my neck and rest his little head against my shoulder as I paced the room and prayed. Those days are already gone- now John lies or sits in his crib as we pray, and one day, I hope to teach him to kneel beside me. But we still cuddle for a little while before I put him in his crib. He still wraps his arms around me as I hug him, and there is nothing more wonderful than those moments, and I will almost certainly cry on the day that I realize that my arms just can’t carry him anymore (or he insists that he’s too big to be held, which might happen first).
So yes, there might be occasional moments when I wish that John was older, or more independent, or more reasonable. Sometimes I might find myself wishing that I could go on a date with my husband without the emotional and financial stress of securing and paying a babysitter. But if I were given the chance to fast-forward past the sleepless nights, toddler temper tantrums, and frustrating food fights, I would turn it down without a second thought. My little boy will only be little once; he will grow up in the blink of an eye, and I will not get these days back. There are no do-overs or rewinding, so we need to enjoy these days while they are ours. Because before we know it, they’ll be fond memories of our son’s childhood that we won’t be able to get back. And I love my little boy too much to miss out on these beautiful days of infancy and toddlerhood.
Mary Help of Christians, pray for us!