I’m always a little puzzled when people complain about their children growing up or bemoan the fact that their baby is no longer a baby. Frankly, I’m happy that my kids are getting older. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely loved certain things about the baby years and I can look back on those times with nostalgia. But I’m pretty happy that my children didn’t stay babies forever…
It was precious to hold my infants while they were sleeping. They made adorable faces and grinned at me when they woke up. It also forced me to sit down and really focus on the baby for a bit. To fall in love with them just a little bit more.
But I also hated waking up in the middle of the night when one of those sweet babies decided he wanted me to hold him all night. Upright. And walking around. For months. I rejoiced when I finally got more than 45 consecutive minutes of sleep at night. For my second baby, I grew to hate that she only wanted to take her naps with me in the Ergo. I loved that Ergo and in the beginning it was indispensable when I needed to also take care of my three year old. But it meant that my second child didn’t nap on her own until she was over a year, which eventually made it harder to take care of her older brother.
I also fondly remember nursing those babies. It was a different kind of bond that I formed with them, and it was special. I felt like every ounce they gained was just because of me and I was proud of it. It was wonderful to be able to comfort them through nursing. I can’t imagine not having that in my arsenal of things to try when my babies were fussy and I wasn’t sure what was wrong.
But since I was breastfeeding, I was the only one who got up at night (and I got up a lot). Plus I spent 1.5 hours each day at work pumping. And my milk had a lot of lipase, so I had to scald all the milk I pumped every night after the baby went to bed, or the milk would end up tasting like a sour towel. I also had a baby who refused the bottle and decided to nurse all night instead. And for the first two months of my daughter’s life, I had some awful open wounds on my nipples that made me want to cry every time she nursed. And then there was the time I had mastitis and spent several days in bed, vomiting and feverish, with a throbbing, aching breast. And the time I had thrush and had to grit my teeth to get through each nursing or pumping session.
I think with each age there will be something to love and something to wish away. I can’t stop them growing older, so bemoaning the fact that they are getting older just prevents me from enjoying who they are right now. I might not have a tiny baby to nurse and cuddle, but I have a creative five year old with an incredible imagination, who is so sweet to his little sister and asks hilarious questions. And I have a very affectionate two year old who is learning to communicate more and more each day and says the funniest things.
At this very moment, it is the only time they will be exactly who they are now. So it’s not sad that they are growing up. It’s a gift to see them grow each day. And I intend to enjoy it.