Letting go of the baby stage

Over the past few weeks I’ve been realising more and more how Sophie has outgrown her baby years. The trouble is, I’m not sure I’ve outgrown them.

There are so many little things that she no longer needs me for. Getting dressed in the morning. Putting on her shoes. Singing lullabies before she sleeps.

She has almost entirely outgrown naps and is no longer interested in the simple baby games that I used to play with her.

Where has my little baby gone?

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As a mother, I struggle to strike a balance between nostalgia over what has been, appreciation of the present, and anticipation of what’s to come. I find it all too easy to slip into wishing my children were still the same as they were last week, last month, or last year, wishing for just one last newborn snuggle, one last kiss on their soft hair, one last time to rock them to sleep. I tell myself that I wish I had enjoyed them more as they were. I look at scribbles that they did and I wish I could see them do it all again.

But the truth is, their presence here and now is much better than the memories of them. All the things they have done, all the skills they have conquered, all the problems they have solved, are woven into their fabric, are inextricable from them as they are now. Every day, they are learning so much, and I am learning so much about them, and every day, they grow more into their own people and their roots sink down deeper into my heart. My heart as a mother.

These delightful little people have learned, grown, and blossomed under my very eyes.

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Now that she dresses herself, she has found another outlet for her own creativity. Now that she puts on her own shoes, she can tell me when she’s ready to go. Now that she can go to sleep without lullabies, we can have little chats in the dark and talk to God about the day we’ve just had. Now that she no longer naps, we have special time together just the two of us, while her little brother still naps (please, for at least a few months longer!). Now that she is too sophisticated for baby games, she has started to have her own world separate from me at preschool, she entertains herself with craft, make-believe, songs, stories, and garden digging, and she surprises me daily with her growing skills.

I thank God for all the days I have had with her, and all the days to come.

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