Every January there’s a day or two like this: shorts weather in the middle of frozen weeks. Days when we open the windows and let the humidity in, sniffing the air and saying, “Oh right, that’s what that feels like.” In the afternoon, I put shoes on the kids and we trek outside to scooters and tricycles and Nicholas’ new adventure, training wheels.
Michael adores being outside, and he’s been deprived of it by cold weather. Now, he’s in heaven. He comes to me with graham cracker crumbs clinging to his mouth, and I open my arms and he hurtles into them breathing vanilla and honey on me. He stays only for a moment; there are chalk drawings to explore, and trucks to push, balls to throw and mayhem to cause.
But he comes running back every minute or two to drop his head on my shoulder from behind for a couple of seconds before running off again. A miniature hug from a miniature boy who, really, is no longer a baby.
It surprises no one when a child grows, except his mother. That’s what they’re supposed to do. In the past I’ve embraced every change; there was always another child planned, no need to weep over what was lost, because there are sure to be more coming down the line. This time, it’s different. I’m so ready to be done with diapers and cribs and high chairs and having to carry a heavy child whose weight causes my shoulders to lock up (a daily battle I’ve fought for the last eight years with stretches, massages and Tiger Balm, but never managed to win). But I love babies, and it’s bittersweet to see Michael careening headlong out of babyhood. My heart whispers, Not yet.
Tomorrow he’ll be fourteen months. Alex and Nicholas weaned at fourteen months. Julianna lasted a couple more because she did everything late, including feed herself. But the time is near. I’ve led the weaning every other time, ready to be done with the extra time sucker at bedtime and first thing in the morning–the last two nursings to go. This time, I’m hanging on tight. Two nights ago, when I came home from my novel critique group, the kids were already in bed. I knew Michael didn’t really need to nurse, and I debated letting it go. But the whisper came again: not yet.
I’m holding on, drawing every drop of sweetness out of the experience, even as he proves ten times a day that toddlerhood is at hand. There’s the interest in cars, and the fact that he rolls around on the floor shrieking when he’s crossed. Things like that.
Ready or not, here it comes. And it’ll be beautiful, I know; Alex, long and lean and up to my shoulder, building pinewood derby cars and chasing his little siblings around to make them laugh, shows me that.
But it won’t be babyhood anymore. So I’ll hold on as long as he lets me.
a thaw here means barely+ 1C or 31F
a cold snap? -38C
Yes, we are in that transition zone where winter as we think of winter doesn’t hang around very long, but it stays kind of middling cold most of the time, with occasional bipolar episodes like right now. 🙂
My favorite lines:
“He comes to me with graham cracker crumbs clinging to his mouth, and I open my arms and he hurtles into them breathing vanilla and honey on me.”
“A miniature hug from a miniature boy who, really, is no longer a baby.”
I can’t believe Michael is 14 months! The time has flown.
Your time is coming. 🙂
Gah, I love the way you tied the ‘not yet’ of the teasing weather with the ‘not yet’ of the departing babyhood. I was always ready for the next step when mine were babies, but now I can see how truly temporary it was. Enjoy your t-shirt weather while it lasts!
“I open my arms and he hurtles into them breathing vanilla and honey on me.” I just love that line and image.
They are always our babies, thank God, but I know the feeling. I cried when my daughter was 11 days old, because she’d never be 11 days old again and I was already missing that.
We’re so susceptible to those kinds of moments as mothers, aren’t we?
‘It surprises no one when a child grows, except his mother.’ And sometimes his grandmother… if she’s blessed to be with the children and care for them as much as I’ve been able to do. This is (as always) a beautifully written and very real post. Consider my heart strings tugged.
Beautifully written. Tugs at my heart as it brings back memories.