Here’s what I noticed about having two kids. One day you’re hyper aware of growth milestones and the next, once another baby comes along, you’re just happy Number One is not feeding rocks to Number Two. At least that’s how I’ve been. There’s something to be said about lowering your standards I suppose.
I used to read baby books religiously to make sure Little Miss was developing as she should, and now that we have baby Thumper, the book sits untouched. No, I don’t think we’ve graduated from the baby experience. I just think that because we didn’t, as far as we can tell anyway, break our first daughter, we have become a little more confident as parents.
I am less apt to consult a book in anticipation of the next developmental milestone and more at ease with just letting it happen according to my baby’s own pace. I think I know just enough to know when to be worried. Other than that, a baby turning over at three months, drooling profusely and reaching for objects at month four seems par for the course. Oh and of course there’s that inaugural first bite of solids that always make a food freak like me even freakier than usual.
It’s nice to feel a little more comfortable in my parenting, like hiking a treacherous mile with well-worn and well-made shoes, but sometimes, I think I’ve become too lax, especially with Little Miss, whose growth has been the feature of this blog since her 11th month. Now that she’s a regular person – as in the kind that can articulate her angst (and increase mine) - I tend to forget that she still has plenty of growing to do.
A few weeks ago, when I picked her up from preschool the first week back after her summer break, she stopped for water at the cooler, and I was shocked that she didn’t need the stool to reach the spout. The fact that she’s been turning on the lights at home by herself should have clued me in that this girl was growing, growing, growing, but I didn’t realize just how many inches she has (surreptitiously, right in front of my eyes) added to her petite frame until she could now independently do something she needed help with before. Note to self: Procure growth chart.
Just the other day, I revisited the post about Little Miss’ first word, and it’s hard to imagine that same girl today, who can now spell her own and her sister’s name and even recognize or spell certain words. Without my help or rather, thanks to the iPad, she has learned to write some easy alphabets on her own. She even employs her ten fingers for some simple math. Her favorite tune has moved on from “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to “Goosey Goosey Gander” and “Sing a Song of Sixpence” although she still doesn’t know what a sixpence is. All of this over the course of one summer, and it makes me wonder, where was I?!
These, individually, are pretty remarkable progressions, but because there’s a baby at home needing to be fed, changed, bathed and rocked to sleep, they have largely gone unrecorded. In my defense, if I spend my time taking notes for the future, what if I miss the moments that are right here, right now? Ones that don’t appear in pictures or blog posts but that are nestled in the deep crevices of my brain, waiting for a warm and surprising discovery someday like finding more hot fudge at the bottom of my ice cream sundae.
The day will come where my girls will no longer need me to mark each moment, steady their balance, clap in encouragement. They will do what they set out to do, with or without me.
I just want them to know that even if I don’t make a note of them, I always notice them.