Today, I fed my baby for the last time.
Well, perhaps, in this last time moment, he’s not so much my baby anymore. But I still call him my baby. Heck, I call him “my baby” so frequently that HE calls himself “Baby”. Which is probably a pretty good indicator that hes NOT so much a baby.
The truth is, at 22 months, the semblances of babyhood are racing further and further behind him. The chubby, rolly-polly, mama-milk filled rolls have given way to long gangly arms and strong legs. My milk has made him strong. Gone are the days of long snuggles. And gone are the hours spent, soaking up skin to skin. The quiet dark snuggles in the way too early mornings, which happened way too frequently, passed even faster.
His helpless baby-teradactyl wail has given way to a strong and powerful will. Baby coos transformed into words, “I want that, Mommy.” Busy, all the time. His little heart and brain and body just zoom from one thing to the next
When did my baby stop being my baby for the last time?
Perhaps long ago, when I wasn’t paying attention. He’s my big boy now. His busy little feet don’t have time to sit still for “Boov” anymore. He has better things to do. And so today, I offered him by breast for the last time.
I knew this last was coming. His feedings became shorter, fewer, with sometimes days in between. His night wakings demanded his “Blue” blanket, his “Packie”, but no longer his “boov”. Today my husband- brave man and awesome daddy that he is- took the kids to go see his Marine brother’s family, now stationed in Florida. They’ll be gone for four days, and I know in my mom-gut, that when they come home, a little boy will be standing in place of my baby, and by his own volition, our boov-snuggle days will be behind him.
I tend to be a more discreet breastfeeder. I have no problem normalizing breastfeeding, nursing in public, feeding him in pictures which capture our bond. But in our day to day life, I am simply more comfortable nursing with a shirt above and a shirt below. It’s my body, too. Anyhow, I was wearing a maxi dress today when I dropped my family off at the airport- and lets just say its not nursing friendly. But I knew this may be it, so threw caution to the wind and nursed my guy facing the window, ginormous boobs and all.
I expected it to be this beautiful moment.
I thought I would stare at his lashes and touch his soft hair and remember our amazing, brilliant, difficult journey as he latched and nursed for the last time.
Did I mention he’s not a baby anymore?
Little guy was having NONE. OF. That. True to his almost-two, toddler form, he nursed for all over 15 seconds before tearing off after his sister, chasing her around the terminal. At first, I sat there awkwardly shoving my boob back in my dress, feeling melancholy about our anti-climatic “last time”.
My baby isn’t a baby, and I don’t know what to do with myself.
Even writing this, my heart hurts
I know that this new phase of toddler-hood will be just as beautiful as his baby-dom. And just like his sister, the good times and trying moments will cause me to wish that it would simultaneously freeze and pass us by faster.
And it does. It does feel like time flies and those few fleeting years that I get to spend with my daughter before she starts school goes way too fast. And those days where she melts down, refuses to clean her room, hangs on me for a million snacks a thousand times a day, will make me wish it would come faster.
Just as O’s giant belly laughs, the way he holds his still-chubby arms up at me while insisting I “Hold me, Mama”, and the tiny dimples in his elbows make me wish that he will stay two forever. While his incoherent demands, climbing on the kitchen table, insistence that he HAS to have a third helping of yogurt make me wonder when HE will start preschool.
Parenting is hard. And beautiful.
If we wish it by too fast, we won’t ever appreciate those simple, quite moments. They may fade over time, but the effect the bond has with my children will last a lifetime.
This is to the last times.
May they stay forever in our hearts.
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