Last week my friend with a newborn looked down at her sweet, sleeping baby girl who lay peacefully in her arms, making the tiny newborn grunts and sighs that were making all of us sigh ourselves. She looked over at Rocco, toddling around the room like a drunkard, signing “OPEN! OPEN! OPEN!” and calling the bubble machine a car. She commented with some shock on how there’s not much separating the two, time-wise. They’re just about a year apart, and yet they are so different that one of them is called a baby and one is called a toddler.
I remember feeling the same kind of sentimental with Rocco. Being a second-born,* I knew what would come next. All the peace and Zen of the newborn would give way to a loud and busy toddler. He was a year away from not wanting the hugs, two years away from his first temper tantrum, three years away from back-talking, four years away from school…
I’d panic. Stop it, time! Just stop! Let me hold my baby a little longer.
I’m on the other side of that now. Rocco is so into his toys and his independence that the most physical contact I get from him is his little arm shoving me away when I try to carry him–accompanied by an “ENNNHH!” if I try to hug or kiss him. He doesn’t even let me spoon feed him anymore, preferring to wage his own battles against his fork and spoon. I can’t remember the last time he fell asleep in my arms.
Funny thing, though: it doesn’t feel sad to me now that I’m here. True, I’d love some cuddle time, but I wouldn’t trade my 1-1/2-year-old in for the newborn. Instead of sweet, we have cute. Instead of peace, we have hilarity. Instead of calm, we have the pit-pat-pit-pat of baby steps through the house all day. And as Rocco has gained some of his independence, Kevin and I have started to regain some of our own, and man, does that feel good.
18 months ago, I loved Rocco because he was my baby. Today I love him because he’s Rocco. Car-obsessed, cat-chasing, food-throwing, hug-hating, tickle-loving Rocco.
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Brownies and ice cream?
*Rocco is technically the third-born, but I didn’t know how to gracefully insert that up there without losing the meaning of the paragraph.