Mixed Emotions About Milestones

We discovered this weekend that Vera loves her some Exersaucer. I could just cry.

This second time around, I feel a little differently about milestones than I did the first. On the one hand, I want my little girl to develop and grow and explore the world around her with ever-increasing curiosity and independence. On the other hand, I want to bind her little limbs and keep her in a calm, dark room in the hopes that she’ll stay my cuddly chubby baby forever.

Mostly I want that first part.

Clint brought the Exersaucer out at my request. Vera strained her neck to check it out as soon as it entered the room. She watched intently as Clint cleaned it off for her, and when we lowered her into it, she beamed and gaped in excitement and disbelief. She struggled to hold her body erect, head wobbling unsteadily, testing new neck muscles. She willed her hands toward the nubby-eared giraffe, then the clear bead-filled tumbler, swatting, Zombie-like. She worked that thing like a bartender at happy hour, giving attention where attention was due, then promptly shifting it all to the next in line.

“The days of the bouncy seat on the kitchen counter are coming to an end,” Clint said.

Endings. They piggyback in on all these amazing beginnings.

I’m more acutely aware of it this time around, because I know how things unfold and I know she’s my last. I did feel the same way with Roy, whom I made pinky-swear on video, before he hit his first birthday, that he’d live with me forever and ever.

I know. There’s a chance it will not hold up in court due to his minor status, blah, blah, blah. A mama can try.

But I also wholeheartedly cheered the first rollover, the first Bumbo session, the first unassisted stand, without this undercurrent of loss.

Mostly, I live on the bright side. This new development buys me more hands-free time, gives her more exercise and mental stimulation and means we’ll soon be able to get rid of a few of the thousand or so cumbersome swings, seats and things we have propped around the house to contain her.

I can’t stand those damn swings and seats.

I miss them already.

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  1. by A.

    On June 28, 2012 at 9:55 am

    YES. I want to get pregnant and have our second child already so then soon after I can start getting rid of all the crap. But, I don’t want to wish away time either, and I’ll miss those rattles and buckets and baby bathtubs and bouncy seats.

    You say it perfectly, once again. :)

  2. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 28, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Thanks, A.! I am constantly amazed at the dichotomies such as this surrounding parenthood…

  3. by Betsy

    On June 28, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I can relate to your pinky-swear with Roy! Alice will freely tell anyone that Mommy gets to go to college with her…but I do get my own room.

  4. by Berit Thorkelson

    On June 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Well, we do need some boundaries, don’t we, Besty?

  5. by Stefanie

    On June 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Beautifully said. It’s a bittersweet shift, and it makes me feel blessed every day we have the technology we have to capture pictures and videos when we want to go back and remember.:)

  6. by Andrea

    On June 29, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    My first is learning to stand on her own, has started cruising, and is overall developing this new level of independence. While I cheer her on at every step, I think what’s helping me through the bitter of the bittersweet is that we want to have more and I get to do it all again! I don’t know what I will do when it’s our last. I loved reading this and knowing that other moms can relate! Thanks!

  7. by Jennifer

    On July 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Oh, I did love those infant years. I really did. I loved the newborn time, the toothless grins, the baby-wearing. I loved it and under the thrill and pride at their growth, I was sniffly sad at the little growing-up milestones. And then, you know what? Then they REALLY grow. Not only no more baby-wearing or bouncy seats, but no more cribs or diapers or cutting food into small pieces. No more naps or *gasp* even car seats. And? It is AWESOME. Biggie Smalls just turned 12 and for as much as I loved having a newborn baby boy and a toddler boy and a preschooler boy, I love having a 12 year old boy even more. Enjoy these precious tiny days. They are sweet and they do go so fast. But I promise you, there is so much more fun and laughter and joy to come. (With the bonus of getting to sleep pretty much as much as you want to!) No worries, mama. They’re your babies and they always will be. It doesn’t go away. Even when they get to be taller than you. :) xoxo

  8. by Berit Thorkelson

    On July 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Oh, Jennifer. You are so right. I will try so hard to keep this in mind. Yes. There is good ahead, even as there is good behind. And right in front of me, too. XO