For the moment she's still got her little arm up, requesting a finger to grasp as she travels, pokes about, bends and dips and restands, stops for a little bouncy-knee dance when the mood strikes. But two days ago M turned one. Soon she won't want the hand so much. Already, the breast and its contents are not essential. They are well-regarded as a mental and emotional reset button, a quick put-me-together when the me-ness starts to feel less sure. But a moment's snuggle and a tiny taste is usually enough, and then her head swivels away and her body starts it's slippery undulations designed to get her back on her feet and going again.
Tonight, as always, the pace here is frenzied and the soundtrack is blaring. Declan's on the drums, Eva the recorder and harmonica, and then there's running and jumping and playing and screaming and laughing and homework and drawing and playing dollhouse. She's got to keep up and there's no getting bored. And there are so many things to see and know. "DAT" she says, again and again and again, jutting her arm out with a questing, pointing finger at the end. "Light," "bathtub," "computer," "apple" we say back. "DAT, DAT, DAT," she says, as if her brain just won't let her stop. A few nights ago she'd fallen asleep on the breast one night in my lap at bedtime. I moved slightly and immediately, right out of sleep, her arm shot up into the pitch black and pointed, and she said, "DAT!" "Not now, darling," I said softly and put her in her bed and she turned over and let the world go for a little while.
She's still in her mini co-sleeper (along with all her sibs, in this photo) head and feet almost touching the ends of her baby bed, but that will change after we bring the crib down from upstate this weekend. She's only still contained in the co-sleeper because she refused to learn to crawl, and with it, to get herself to sitting on her own. She can walk and dance but she can't get herself off her back so she hasn't been able to climb out of the co-sleeper yet, but it's minutes away.
I am trying not to log all the passing babynesses, but my mind logs them anyway. Soon enough, this time will be done and many more amazing ones will come, of course. But having a baby in our midst will be missed. Thinking of E. going off to Kindergarten next year is equally as unthinkable. Where did THAT baby go? And then it feels like two babies hurtling themselves out of babyhood at once.
Recently, some mothers at the mother's group I run were talking about noticing the shift from their babies being newborns to something new, something not quite the same. They were asserting their wishes, wanting to sit up or be faced outward, or something that felt like demanding to have some control over their own world. One mother spoke of feeling anxious about having to start solids and give food that wasn't from her to her baby. These transitions are so striking, and so emotionally loaded. It's work to manage the feelings they bring on, whether it's having your baby suddenly out of arms or newly, hungrily taking in more of the outside world than just your breast, your face, your voice, your touch, your goodness.
As I feel thankful this week for the great goodness that has come my way, I am also thankful for being too busy to think about all this growing up too much. There are pies to make, snow boots to procure, and little people who need to be played with, NOW. And then washed and put to bed. And then I need to knit.