As the babies in my mom's groups start to all approach the one year mark, all the moms have started to feel a similar emotion: sadness.
"Our babies aren't babies anymore," said one mom last week when I ran into her on the street. And other moms have been expressing similar sentiment. Our babies are speeding towards toddlerhood, leaving their infancy in the wake. Didn't I just have a newborn yesterday?
But no. I didn't. Yesterday I went to lunch with a friend and her gorgeous five-week-old son. And although I hardly feel Sam is a day over five weeks, I could not deny the differences. Sam was aware of her surroundings, wanting to touch everything. She was waving to strangers, giggling, cooing, flirting. She ate some bread and bananas on her own and played with silverware and toys. And even though they looked the same size to me, Sam had a good ten pounds on my friend's son.
How did this happen?
If I were not pregnant, I know I would feel some sadness in this transition. After all, it feels like it happened far, far too fast. One day she was nursing 12 times and the next it is a struggle to get her to nurse twice. One day her movements were all involuntary, jerky reflexes and the next they were deliberate and coordinated.
When Sam was first born, I cried at the thought of her growing older. Even then I knew just how fast it would happen. And it has. But somehow I am less sad than I thought I would be. Watching her unfold has been the most fulfilling experience in my life to date. More and more she becomes this little companion who is more often than not in on the joke. She gets things. She communicates. Granted, it is through razzing and pointing, but she is able to tell me what she want. When she wants to be read to, she hands me a book, wriggles her iny bum into my lap, points and turns the pages herself. I loved her as an infant, but toddlerhood seems exciting and fun.
I sense my ease with this transition might have less to do with general comfort around growing up and more to do with the fact that I know (and hope) that in just a few months, another little infant will be in our home. I have a whole set of emotions around this issue that are taking the lead in my head right now: Will Sam get cheated of attention? Will I still think she is my baby? Will she be close with her new sibling?
These thoughts are at the forefront as my baby approaches the one-year mark. I still can't believe she has been a part of my life this long, but at the same time, it seems like life without her was ages ago. I can't wait to see who she will become and I only see more fun ahead.