There are loads of sphincter-tightening moments that come with being a parent: the first
day hour minute you are discharged from the hospital and that tiny human is yours and yours alone to keep alive cherish, the first time you leave him/her with another person that is not yourself, the first time they scamper off to school without a look back in your direction. I’m sure things like first date, first time driving, first sleepover at a non-relative’s house will all make this list if I live long enough to get there.
Some of these moments, however, are not so black and white – not so milestone-list-worthy.
I am probably a sap. For as logical and science-y as I am, I have this horrible gooey center when it comes to my children. My love for them is equal but different. Stella is my trailblazer, my challenge, my beauty with a terrifying brain. I have to work as hard to accept her as I do myself. I love her fiercely, wanting to slap the ever-living shit out of anyone who looks askance at her, and unfortunately people do. I have yet to actually slap anyone, but she’s only 5 so I figure I have loads of time. I’m actually itching to do it. The Harpy better be glad kindergarten is over.
Then there’s my dude. Y’all, I hate to say it, but there may be something to this whole “mama’s boy” thing. He is mine. I don’t know if it’s his personality as a human being. I don’t know if it is the whole Y chromosome thing. I don’t know if it’s because he’s the youngest – the baby. I don’t know if it’s because he’s my last baby. But my little bitty dude has pulled at some heartstrings that didn’t exist about 3.5 years ago.
He’s my last baby. That’s something I’ve struggled a bit with the past few years, despite knowing this decision was a sound one. (Speaking of: why in the name of hell did my OB put my uterus back in? I mean, I told her to tie my tubes at the end of my last C-section. She was in there anyway. They have to actually remove the damn uterus to get the damn baby out. Why not just leave the damn thing on the exterior? I’m going to ask her the next time I see her. Oh yes.) Every milestone he meets has a heavy sense of finality to it.
Recently he suffered a “setback.” I use the quotes because while it may be a setback to 99.8% of y’all, it wasn’t a big deal to me. I actually liked it. He started seeking me out in the night, wanting to cuddle up and sleep with me. I know, I know. I’ve bitched endlessly about sleep deprivation, about having “rooster children” that have robbed me of hours and hours of precious sleep. But co-sleeping? I always loved it. Will hated (hates) it, but I think that’s one of the most amazing sensations on the planet: curling up with that warm, soft little body next to you. I’ve just been gathering my son up and curling up with him on the couch. Stella always flailed at night, ever my prize fighter. Felix always just curls up.
Last night he slept back in his own “big boy” bed until dawn. I have to admit I’m sad about it. I’ve also noticed he’s feeling more “boy-like” vs “little bitty dude-like.” He’s becoming a “kid.” He’s harder. His face is becoming less round. I am having a hard time doing bicep curls with his sweet little body while he giggles. He’s getting too heavy for that.
There will always be things about parenting very young children I won’t miss: diapers, snot, stomach viruses, whining (ohglobthewhining). But I will miss my tiny cuddly dude. Stop growing. Dammit.