“When did you get so big?” I asked my two–wait, almost three–year old recently. “Yesterday mom. That’s when I got so big,” she replied with certainty. “Yeah me, too mom,” her big sister chimed in.
No really, I thought, when did it happen? They climb in and out of the tub on their own, dress themselves. And their hands, without even the slightest of baby squish anymore, wrap around mine when they tell me they love me. Yesterday I held them for the first time; today they are singing all the words to Taylor Swift songs. It is easy to get sidetracked as they grow. I don’t mean to; I suppose it just comes with the territory.
That transition from newborn to big kid seems like it happens overnight. Somewhere in between scrubbing crusty cereal off the kitchen chairs, discovering crayon on the walls and marker on the carpet, breakfast giggles, first wagon rides of the new year and falling asleep while reading yet another Dr. Seuss book, I tend to forget that someday–long before I will be ready–they will be grown up. I won’t be reading bedtime stories or strolling two little girls to the park forever.
When those days come, I hope the sight of marker stains from days past will take me right back to these very times.
I complain about the messes. I scold them for silly things. We rush through the days without thinking to slow down. Then out of nowhere I am reminded of how quickly time is passing, and I am remember to appreciate the hard days of parenting too.
We enforce rules and sometimes we bend them too. And today bending the rules meant wearing sparkly dress-up dresses for no reason other than they wanted to.
I really was not prepared for how fast this all goes. Last night both of the girls asked me to rock them to sleep so I did. We have gotten into a strict bedtime routine lately that I forgot how much I missed wrapping them up in their blankies and rocking them to sleep. One held my shirt sleeve and the other held my hand.
Today: “Can you hold my baby for a little bit mommy?” Right before I was about to tell her I couldn’t, I realized the chores could wait. My phone could be put down. My attention could easily be her’s. With a baby doll in my arms, she says “Okay. I have to go to work. Change her diaper and feed her a bottle. Don’t drop her. Okay? Thanks mom.”
Sooner than later, they won’t even pick up a baby doll. Answer that toy phone. Eat the play food. Rock them to sleep. Listen to their stories–even if you’re busy. Build the lego towers and tip them right over. Read the extra book. Give them sugar. Create memories. Make a mess. Play hide and seek. Play house. Play beauty parlor, school, dress-up…whatever they want. Be silly. Let their imaginations soar.
Because little doesn’t last long.