I’m hiding behind the couch as a spin this letter out in my head.
I left you napping on the living room floor while I went to take care of some things around the house. I folded some laundry, swept the floor, and went to put something away in the closet on the back side of the living room.
That’s when you woke up.
I saw your forehead move a little. Your eyelashes fluttered a bit. Then you opened your eyes. At first they didn’t focus and you looked around, trying to figure out where you were while your vision got clearer.
You saw me. Or at least you almost saw me, I think. I’m not sure because as soon as your eyes came around to my side of the room I ducked behind the couch.
And stayed there for five minutes.
Because as soon as you see me, you will realize that you have demands. You have things that just must be attended to now. You have problems. Well, problems that don’t really exist, but that you must scream about because you see me now.
So I hid.
Behind my own couch in my own living room from an infant.
Because you are an infant. A four-month-old infant.
You sleep through the night now, if only in your car seat. You look ridiculous strapped into your car seat in your crib, but it works. You’ve slept all through the night for almost a month now. Your aunt thinks it’s because the car seat is just a little restrictive, like a big boy swaddle, and I think she’s right. Even if she’s not, I don’t care. Your pediatrician reassured us that you will suffer no long- or short-term consequences of this arrangement, and so it will be for the foreseeable future.
I got you a sippy cup the other day because lately you’ve been holding my fingers on opposite sides of you bottle when I feed you, just like you’d hold the handles of a sippy cup. You don’t really get it yet, but you recognize it and are trying. You grab both handles and try to steer the thing into your mouth. At least you did after you figured out you couldn’t just open your mouth and magically be fed. We were doing that, young man, and I guess now is the time for you to start puzzling that one out for yourself.
It’s time for more steps toward independence.
For example, mobility. Just last week you suddenly tried to start rolling over. You can almost do it, and have done it a few times, but your arm gets in your way like a speed bump. When you do make it all the way over, you haven’t quite figured out what to do with your legs yet, so they stay crossed, which sticks your butt up in the air. This is hilarious.
You also do solid food now. I make most of it myself after we’ve done a test-run with a store-bought jar to make sure you’ll eat it. Otherwise I’m wasting my time making food you won’t eat. Not happening. Though I do love making it. It’s so easy and fun I don’t know why more people don’t do it. Steam vegetables (minimal effort) and then puree them with mixer thing. This second part is so fun that if you hadn’t woken up the first time I did it, I easily could have pureed everything in the kitchen.
Now that you’re starting to feed yourself and move on your own I’ve started to realize how much I’m going to miss my baby. Because you’re not going to be my baby forever, and when my baby is gone, he’s never coming back.
He’ll be replaced with a toddler, a child, young adult, and, too soon, an adult.
Before I know it, you’ll be taking care of yourself, first in small ways, then completely, and you won’t need me. As much as I don’t like the neediness, I’m going to miss it.
You’ll have opinions and make them known. You’ll make choices about what you do with your self and your time. You won’t be my pudgy little baby any more who goes where I go and does what I do.
And as much joy as that will bring us both, I’m going to miss my baby.