A Stranger In a Once Familiar Land

by Ginger on November 14, 2011

in Mom Thoughts

Today at lunch I had to run to Target for a few things and while I was there, I decided to stop in the Babies R Us next door to see if they had any pajamas for Jackson. I hadn’t been in that Babies R Us in…months? That store that used to be a weekly stop for me has pretty much dropped off my radar, with a rare exception–they have the sandals that we like for J, or Amazon can’t get the diapers we need to us fast enough, that kind of thing. But in general, it’s a rare place for me to stop. Before though…For a good year, year and a half, Babies R Us felt a little like my home away from home I was there so much and now? Now it feels like a foreign land.

It was a strange moment as I stood in the store and realized–I may call him my baby, but I have a full on toddler/bordering on KID. He’s not in onesies anymore–I have to find him pants that will withstand his abuse and shoes that will help him stay stable. No bottles or pacifiers, no vibrating car seat toys. The books are moving to paper from board. The toys and games are more involved. The end of diapers is on the horizon (I think a long way off, still, but we are in early days of learning about the potty).

My son isn’t a baby anymore. He’s growing, as fast as they say happens, if not faster. Isn’t time as a parent weird that way? It feels like time is slowing down until you look up and realize how freaking fast it all goes? There are bins of newborn and infant clothes and toys that prove that, but somehow I was reminded with full force today standing in a Babies R Us and realizing:

This is not the place for me any longer. The baby days? Those are gone. We’re in the world of toddlerdom, headed straight for kidville.

That’s not to say it’s a bad thing. While toddlerhood is exhausting (and can be frustrating), I find it exciting watching him grow. I love hearing him talk, and learn. And I’m not sure anything can beat the fact that he can show me affection with INTENT now: “Momma HUZZ” (momma hugs–which means he wants to give me a hug). But sometimes I think back on those baby days (which, I’ll be honest, were in many many ways, much much easier for me than toddlerhood has been) and sigh. He won’t be little again. He won’t be little always. He’ll always be my baby, but he’s on that impossible to avoid trajectory of growing up and sometimes I wish I could just hold it off a little longer, or at least slow it down a little more.

But then, he’s off running and jumping and laughing and learning, and I know that time doesn’t stop–nor do I *really* want it to. There’s so much awesome up ahead, so much to look forward to, so much potential up there, up ahead. I don’t want it to get here faster than it needs to, and I know I’ll continue to look back in shock at how fast it’s all passed. But I’m looking forward to the journey in front of us, just as much as I enjoy thinking about where we’ve already been.

 

Elizabeth November 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm

The change, while overwhelming, I’m sure, has to be exhilarating. He’s this amazing little person that you’ve worked so hard to help shape.

Eva Gallante November 15, 2011 at 6:11 am

I know what you mean. My “baby” is about to turn 40 and has 9 and 5 year old babies of his own! It all goes by way too fast!

I just stopped in from SITS to say hello. Hope you find time to do the same.

Eva Gallant November 15, 2011 at 6:12 am

there’s no “e” after Gallant. don’t know how that happened!

Megan November 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm

I’ve had so many moments like this one you describe, and yet, not in a very long time. I may get a little wistful looking at a baby picture, but we’re at a stage right now where I’m actually finding myself looking forward to her getting older more than anything. That will pass, too, I’m sure. It’s just frustrating when she is on the brink of being able to do really cool things, but then that toddler personality kicks in, and there are tears and tantrums over seemingly nothing. Moments like that I want to say, “OMG, grow up!” But, of course, I don’t.

Having said all this, I am starting to get excited about having another baby in the house. So, I guess I do miss the baby days at least a little.

clara November 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I was watching my kids play at a gymnastics birthday party the other day, and these big kids, like 10 year olds, came gallumping by. I mean, they were HUGE. And sweaty. And smelly. And I suddenly realized that in the not-too-distant future my boys will stink and be bigger than me.

Oof.

Kate November 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm

There is something poignant about your observation on parenthood slowing time down and speeding it up at the same time. It’s strange because the blurry 24-hours days seem to drag on and on, but the weeks/months/years slide by so fast. It’s wonderful, tragic, beautiful and so much more all at once…

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