I still refer to my little boy as a baby, or the baby, or the baby thing, or some variation of the word baby. Tonight at dinner, my husband said, “You know, he’s not a baby anymore.”
People have been telling me that lately..
In a recent three-way phone conversation with two of my best girlfriends (I know, that’s such a highschool thing to do right? I love it) we were getting off the phone for the night when my friend A said, “Say good night to the baby for me.” Both myself and my pregnant friend L said ok. A said, “Julia, I wasn’t talking to you! You don’t have a baby anymore!” I was very shocked at her statement and I think I let that be known through a shrieking “WHAT??!!!” or something else equally refined.
Then, just this past week, my sister told me that my little boy is not a baby anymore. And while on a playdate this week, a mommy friend commented about how nice it is that our boys are “out of the baby stage now.”
I know he is growing up and leaving baby things behind him in his wake of toddler tantrums. I know that he is no longer nursing, and instead he decides what he wants to eat and feeds himself. He has a large vocabulary and communicates well. He picks out his own clothes and puts on his own shoes. He walks and runs and hops and destructs. He imagines monsters and reads stories. He brushes his own teeth and feeds the cats. He has even mastered the potty.
Most days, he is an independent young man who wants to do everything “all by my nelf.” But then there are days when he asks for my help. Days when he curls up in my lap and just wants to “cuddle mommy”. There are moments when he curls up in my arms and rests his head against my chest, or runs up and hugs me with such ferocity that he takes my breath away.
I know he is growing up, and that to the rest of the world he has turned from a baby to a child.
But I have the distinct advantage of being his mommy. How incredibly lucky am I to see him for all of who he is and for all of who he has ever been? When I look at him, I see the two-year old that is running around my living room, I see the one-year-old with tentative first steps, I see the 6-month-old crawling away on an adventure, and I see the eyes of the baby that I stared into every day while I nursed him. I can see all of him, at every stage, in just one glance.
What a gift it is to be a mother; to see him as an evolution and a constant in the same moment. To see his maturity and his innocence in the same fragment of time. To witness him grow, but never change. For in this beautiful boy is, and will always be, my baby. What a gift it is to know, that even as he continues to grow and change and turn from baby, to toddler, to child, to man, I will always know him as the best part of myself.
And so he remains, eternally, my sweet baby boy.