Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stages

Nathan is almost fourteen months old. Fourteen. That is a lot of months, and they have been some of the most difficult of my life. Not just because of Nathan (although he has definitely made things more challenging--he still throws up at least once most days and who knows how long it will be until we can go a day without calculating his caloric intake!), but this year has been a really hard one. I feel like in some ways it's been an amazing year--I ran a marathon!!--and in others it's been horrible--I've been eating lots when I'm sad!!

I think a lot about whether Nathan is our last baby. Neil and I have always planned on having six children, but post-Nathan we've been rethinking that. We've both prayed about whether our family is complete, and we've both felt that it is not yet time to make that decision--but I still can't stop thinking about it, partially because I also feel that if he IS our last, I really want to be soaking it up--I want to know that this is the last time I will ever be pregnant, or have a crawling baby, or a nursing baby, etc. I feel like it will make that transition easier for me. Babies are so delightful that it will be really hard to close that chapter of my life (and a bit terrifying to think that in four years I might not have any children at home during the day).

Nathan is walking now (and climbing up the slide to get into the princess castle, which just about gave me a heart attack the first time I saw him do it) and his babbling is full of recognizable words--we've gone from Mama and Daddy to Mommy and Daddy, Baabaa (Abigail), baby, yay, kitty, whee, etc. It's bittersweet to see how fast he is growing and developing and to know that I might be done with this baby stage.

Neil and I will often make lists of things that we won't miss to comfort ourselves a bit when we're talking about this--things like no more diaper blowouts, no more waking up every 2 hours for feedings, no more childbirth pains, no more crazy pregnancy medical dramas, only one more round of potty-training, no more morning naps, etc. But there are so many things that I will miss--cuddling a tiny infant in the night when only the two of us are awake, that sweet baby smell and those tiny hands wrapping around my fingers, chunky little baby thighs and pudgy hands (especially since Nathan is so skinny!), tiny frilly dresses and miniature bow ties, and the delight of having someone who is so overwhelmed with joy by my mere presence. Babies are so easy, so undemanding--I know how to do babies. Their physical needs are immediate and intense, but easily satisfied. As my children get older I am realizing how complex and emotionally fraught their lives are, and I am stumbling through along with them as we navigate each new stage and its heartbreaks and triumphs. Abigail often remarks that I am her guinea pig--and sadly it is so true! Fortunately she is patient and forgiving as I figure out how to do this.

One of the things that I dread most about my children growing up is the point at which they will no longer be interested in snuggling up for a story. I am so, so, so thankful for the fact that when I begin reading aloud to the younger children, the older ones will inevitably drift over and end up with their heads on my shoulder. This summer has been wonderful for that thus far--we read picture books in the morning and chapter books once Nathan is down for his nap. My favorite times of day.





2 comments:

Elise Gray said...

I think I liked being read to my whole life. Dr. Dean read to us frequently in college classes too--being read aloud to actually releases dopamine! So I think they'll keep enjoying it :)

Kayli said...

That whole one more baby/no more babies decision is probably the hardest I've ever faced, and I'm not even allowed to officially think about it yet (no more babies in Switzerland for sure).

My vote though is that with kids as cute as yours, you ought to have another. :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails