Spend any length of time around our house, and you’re bound to hear either Tom or I reminiscing about the days when Jacob was younger. (For all of you who aren’t linear thinkers—that would be any day besides today.) To bring up whatever topic it is that we want to discuss, we usually preface our statement in one of these two ways: “Remember when Jacob was younger and … ?” or “Remember when Jacob was a baby how he … ?”
If anyone were to overhear our conversation and see the two-foot tall human lying next to us gnawing on his chubby hands, it would all probably sound pretty ridiculous. But Jacob, now at four months old, has changed so much from his early days as a newborn (or a 1, 2 or even 3-month old), that he doesn’t even seem like the same little guy.
And, of course, since I’m a mother, knowing my baby is growing up—even when my baby is still only 4 months old—is enough to turn me into a giant blob of emotion.
Case in point: The other night, Tom and I decided to finally let Jacob learn to soothe himself to sleep. We laid him down in his crib, sat down on the stairs outside the door and prepared ourselves for the buckets of tears he was sure to cry. Instead, we listened to some happy-baby gurgling for a minute or two and then silence. Some parents might jump for joy at the realization that their baby could put himself to sleep, but since we were standing at the top of the stairs, jumping up and down didn’t seem like an entirely safe option. So I cried instead.
Tom, who was pretty thrilled at Jacob’s new accomplishment, was understandably confused. (Notice I didn’t say “surprised.”) I began to explain: “H…He…Heeeee went to sleep all by himself. He doesn’t neeeed us anymore.” Ready as always to affront my sentiment with logic, Tom replied, “Yes, but he went to sleep all by himself IN HIS CRIB.”
Okay, so maybe J’s not THAT grown up yet, but he’s well on his way.
As a mom, knowing your baby needs you less and less, even for the smallest things, thrusts you into a melting pot of emotions. You’re proud that he’s learning and developing. You’re sad that that means he needs you less and less. Sure, your baby may only have learned how to hold his own teether, but pretty soon he’ll be potty trained and learning to do his own laundry.
Wait … maybe this growing up thing won’t be so bad, afterall.