I was dropping Kiddo off at daycare the other morning, carrying him across the parking lot before setting him down inside the lobby. As we neared the door I heard another mom say to her child, “Look at the cute baby!” I glanced around to see who she was talking about, and then realized she meant us. I smiled and didn’t say anything out loud, but mentally grumbled a bit as we went downstairs to Kiddo’s classroom. Baby??
This kid is no baby. He’s more than a year and a half old! He’s walking, he feeds himself (sometimes even using the appropriate utensils!), he can tell us when something’s bothering him although, regrettably, he’s not so good at telling us exactly what that something is. He plays with cars and stacks blocks. He colors with crayons and only chews on them some of the time. He’s lost the baby chubbiness from his cheeks and legs. He’s even managed to grow some hair.
We have to change some of our habits now, because he’s tall enough to see what’s on the kitchen table or the bathroom counter, and he’s got enough of a reach to grab for the things he sees. He knows about cell phones and laptops and what Mom and Dad do with them, and if he catches one of us attempting to do work when we should be playing with him, he’ll come over and shut the laptop with a firm “NO NO NO.”
When I pick him up in the morning, I’m not carrying the tiny little bundle who once was small enough to snuggle on my chest. Instead I’ve got a monkey who wraps his arms and legs around me for a big hug, and hangs on to me as much as I hang on to him. When we walk to the car in the morning, he asserts his independence by trying to take us through the outside door rather than the one leading to the garage. Oh, he’s still got his clingy moments, like recently when we went to a friend’s new house for a Superbowl party, but it doesn’t take him long now to get comfortable with being in a new place, surrounded by people neither of us have met yet.
So, nope, this Kiddo isn’t a baby any more. With all the things that he can do, he’s definitely a little boy now. Every day it seems like we’re finding something new that he can get into. The babyproofing we did is no longer adequate; it’s time to rearrange the contents of counters and drawers to move unsafe things to better locations. He hasn’t started climbing on things just yet, but from what I’ve seen lately, it won’t be long now. Nothing will be safe unless it’s locked down or stowed away.
I kind of miss the little baby snuggles. But the little boy snuggles are great too. And I stand by what I told him that first week when we brought him home: no matter how big he gets… he’ll always be my baby.