Time is a weird thing. I know you’ve all heard the phrase “The days are long, but the years are short.” It becomes so true once you’re an adult, and maybe even truer when you’re a parent. Today little brother turns two. Two! His first year was definitely the longest year of my life, but his second year has flown by too quickly.
I have this rule- my babies are still babies until they turn 2. I know it’s silly, and I know that 22 month olds can walk and talk, but they’re still babies until they’re two.
A month or so ago the boys and I were traveling to chattanooga, TN to spend some time with my husband’s family while he was overseas on business. Anxious and pregnant, I was dreading having little brother on my (almost non existent) lap for three and a half hours.
There was a beautiful little girl sitting across the aisle from us, and she was thankfully very eager to keep little brother entertained. She played peek a boo with him for almost the entire flight!
At one point I asked the girl (who was probably 10 or 11) if she liked babies. She said, “I do, but he’s not a baby! He’s a toddler.”
I have never been so irrationally angry with a little girl before in my life (although I’m sure that sister will help me give this moment some company)! I, choking back (irrational) tears, said, “Yes he is a baby!”
Her eye roll was not subtle, and neither was her mother’s. I laughed and informed her mother that I was pretty pregnant and feeling a bit of guilt about him already being the middle child. I wanted to preserve the last month of his ‘baby stage’. She returned the laugh and explained that her daughter was also a middle child (on her way to spend the summer with her dad, and super excited to be leaving her sisters for a month).
Today is officially the day that I have to stop calling him a baby. It would be breaking my own rule to do otherwise, and I am no ‘my own rule’ breaker (bologna!).
Today is probably going to go like most days, though. The boys will wake up- neither of them will have grown a beard overnight. We will dress them and take them downstairs for breakfast. Someone will throw a fit about something, and for a couple of hours I’ll forget to be emotional about my baby turning two.
This day will likely be very long, just like the rest. It’ll be a domino in the train of this year, and it’ll zoom past at the end of 2018. It will feel like no time has passed at all. My boys will somehow continue to get bigger, and their little sister will be a few months old. I fear that I will have been too tired and too busy to have soaked it all in. I fear that I’ll forget.
Time is so weird!
When little brother was born I was determined to breast feed him. Big brother had refused to nurse after a short stay in the NICU where he’d been given quick-pay-off rubber nipples filled with (apparently) tastier than mom’s milk- formula. So, I pumped and supplemented for several months (and let me tell you,those were LONG days…someday I’d like to just throw a pump against a brick wall…just for the satisfaction!). He got fed, but I felt guilty- because I’m a mom.
Little brother was a nursing champ! He loved it so much, in fact, that he refused to take a bottle…ever (actually, I think he once took one from my husband’s grandmother…she must be a wizard.) He would cry whenever my boob wasn’t in his mouth, so he was latched on ALL THE TIME. Feedings took an hour each, and he wanted more before I had time to put lanolin on my bleeding nipples. I wanted to give him to one of those women who had pressured me into ‘avoiding nipple confusion’ and let her nurse him 20 hours a day!
My post partum anxiety was ruling my life. I was in tears all the time. I held little brother when I wasn’t nursing him because I felt guilty for feeling so angry with him. Meanwhile, big brother wasn’t getting enough of my attention, so, more guilt.
This went on for 9 months! NINE months! (It got easier around 6 months, but this phase wasn’t truly over until he was 9 months old) when he was 9 months old we finally decided to let him cry (I know, what took me so long?!). He cried for three hours one night. My momma heart broke, although part of me (a part that I’m very ashamed of) felt a little satisfaction at the idea of not giving in to him. He eventually stopped crying.
He has slept through the night most nights since. I have not once gotten up to feed him since then. (I’m not recommending this tactic. It just happens to be what worked for us.)
Since then, little brother has been the sweetest, craziest, most cuddly little nugget. I breastfed him through his first year, and gradually weaned him off around 15 months. I would not relive the first nine months of his life for all the money in the world, but I’d readily redo the last year. Where did it go?!
So, little brother, I hope you always know how special you are. I hope that you never feel forgotten all wedged there in the middle. I hope that your incredible personality always shines brighter than the mess in this world. I hope that you learn to love yourself early on, and that you never let others determine your value. I hope that you are always as curious as you are right now, and that you continue to ask questions and demand answers from the world around you. I hope that you always know that your parents love you. I hope that you know that we respect you. I hope that you grow to see that your actions have a ripple effect, and they last longer than their execution. You are already so strong and mighty. You are already a force. Your dad and I are so excited to see what you will become. We talk about your future a lot, but it’s ultimately up to you. Be good. Do good. Love others. Be smart. We are here to help guide you. We love you loads!