Now or later

Ed. note: I wrote this a stupid number of days ago. So many, in fact, that Max has rocketed past these developmental stages and is on to bigger and better things (and isn’t 9 months old anymore, either). But this was in my way-too-big-and-ever-growing pile of unfinished posts, and I really wanted to say all this when I wrote it, so I feel like it needs to be said, late or not. Max turns one in six weeks. SIX. Even with me pulling hard against the reins, time just keeps up its gallop, paying no mind.

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Last weekend we moved the baby swing up to the attic. It was taking up prime real estate in the living room, and the last time Max used it a couple of weeks ago, he kept grabbing the bars and leaning waaaaaay over the side, straining to get down, to be free. Then a few days later, he figured out how to pull himself, flat-bellied, along the floor, and I knew that was it. No more swinging for him. Too much to do! Too much to see! Too many electrical cords to gum! Ain’t no baby got time for swingin’.

Seeing the vacancy next to the couch where that staple of Max’s babyhood once stood hit me like a whump right in the chest sometime later that afternoon, and a bit of a melancholy settled around me like a fine mist. My last baby is growing up. Oh sure, he’s still a baby, I know, but it’s just that he’s a little less so each day. His chub is slowly slimming, his grasp getting surer, his gaze more purposeful, soaking up and taking in all the things. (Especially all the big kid things.)

At the same time he has only one lil’ nub of a tooth, still smells of baby (going strong with the Magic Baby Head Fragrance™ at 9-months), and when drifting to sleep after nursing lets me move him up to my shoulder, all floppy with sweet milky breath warm on my neck. After bath time his skin is like a drug; I can’t touch enough of it, breathe enough of it, take in enough of it. His hair, not much more yet than a fine sheen around his head, flips up ever so slightly at the back, hinting at a curl. (I would like for there to be a curl, if that needs to go on record anywhere.)

I get where the “more babies” lust comes from, the maybe I’m not dones and the longing that keeps women up at night with dreams of children who aren’t even twinkles in anyone’s eyes. It’s stored in the folds of a baby’s knees and the spaces between their impossibly small toes and is released when they spread their starfish hands, seeping into your skin, leaving you searching for that baby-drunk feeling always, forever.

But we are done having children. Of this I am (really, truly, cross-my-heart) sure. I think I’ve always worried a little that I wouldn’t know what to do with the No More Babies ennui that happens when the childbearing years come to an end, and though I’m not very far into that phase of life, I really kind of think everything’s going to be OK somehow. I will miss the squish, but the grown up kids I’ve got here? They’re top shelf. Bee’s knees. The pajamas of cats. So I think it’s safe to say I’ll love crawling Max and walking Max and running Max and talking Max and chess-playing Max and picture-drawing Max just as much as I love baby Max.

Ooey, gooey, chubby, mushy, lovey, heavenly, will-always-be-my baby Max.

2 comments

1 Allen { 03.19.13 at 10:27 am }

I’m going to call my mom and apologize for growing up…

2 racher { 03.20.13 at 11:19 am }

You should! For shame!

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