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This morning I woke up to baby giggles. As precious as it was, I couldn't help but feel a tiny twinge of sadness at the sight of my happy baby boy. He looked so big.
What was once a little baby (as little as an almost 9-pound baby can be), is now growing into a kid, and it’s so strange to see these changes take place. I’m certainly not complaining about my wake-up call, but it’s all a little hard to take sometimes.
There have been the milestones we were expecting, like sleeping through the night and rolling over for the first time, but there have been so many others, little skills and actions, otherwise insignificant moments that have surprised me and reminded me that my baby is growing up.
It’s in the way his tiny hands now reach up to hold his bottle. Those little hands that love to grasp my fingers and play with my hair, now are figuring out how to feed him and attend to his own needs.
The way he now pushes his legs to stand up. He grunts and groans until he’s up in the air and then grins so proudly. It’s adorable and wonderful and terrible all at once, this independence he’s longing for.
When he loses his pacifier but quickly finds it again, all on his own.
When he cries in the night but comforts himself before I can even reach for him, putting himself back to sleep.
All things he should be doing. All things I wanted him to do. All things that at some point in the middle of the night when he was a newborn I hoped and prayed he’d figure out so we could all sleep and function one day.
All things that are now slowly breaking my heart a little.
No one told me about these little milestones. The ones you don’t write down in the baby book, or even photograph. But I guarantee you, the first time I saw him hold his bottle on his own is forever etched in my memory.
These moments are so bittersweet. Of course I want him to grow and develop, and become more independent of me. But each new skill, each new milestone, is one step closer to my baby not being a baby anymore.
Everyone told me how fast time would go. How "the nights are long, but the years are short." How right they were, and we’re just getting started! I blinked, and my little baby got not-so little anymore.
We’ll be approaching the 6-month mark soon. He’ll turn a year old in a heartbeat and I’ll blink a few more times to see he’s graduating high school and leaving my care. Which is just how it should be. But I think I’ll rock him a little longer tonight, just the same.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.