Oh, how I wish I would talk to my younger self, 11+ years and 4 babies ago, sitting with that brand new baby and say, "Nothing matters, but spending time with your little one. He'll sleep through the night. He'll potty train. He'll learn to dress himself." Here I am with "baby" number four and she isn't really a baby anymore. She decided at 18 months that she wanted to potty train and before her third birthday she successfully potty trained, mostly from her own doing She's also dressing herself and getting into her seat at the kitchen table all by herself. Where did the time go? As I look ahead to next year and considering preschool programs, I find myself slowing down. And the more I want to slow down, the faster the time goes. I feel like that's the theme for this blog. Time just gets faster the more I want to slow it down and #babiesdontkeep.
When baby #1 came around I was so unprepared. Of course I read all the baby books and took the nursing class and the infant classes. I had been around babies. I babysit all through high school and even a little through college. But nothing, nothing, prepared me what I was in for. The sleepless nights, crying babies who couldn't be soothed, the Aspergers/autism diagnosis for one my children, the joy I felt when they called me by name the first time, the exhaustion I felt when they don't stop calling my name while I'm in the bathroom. Now, with baby #4 I know what to expect. By the time she came around, I knew that she could sleep in the same room with us in a co-sleeper and we'd both sleep better. I knew that switching to formula for her to gain weight was not the end of bonding because she needed more than nursing. I knew that she'd eventually potty-train and probably before I was ready. And I knew that she'd be on the go and that I'd never catch up once she started walking. And now all I want to do is savor every cuddle. On a recent trip to a crafts store to pick up materials for a project, Beanie decided that she wanted to push the cart up and down the aisle. Nine years ago, I would have been frazzled with 2 kids under 3 and there is no way I would have let my 3 year old push the cart. I also probably wouldn't be leisurely wandering up and down the aisles of a crafts store looking for materials for a project that I wanted to do. It's always easier to do things for our kids. Put their shoes on, put on their jackets, hold their backpacks, push them in the stroller so they aren't walking ever so slowly while we are in a mad rush to get to school on time. My husband has always been so much better than I have been with teaching the kids to become independent. He taught the first three kids how to dress themselves. He taught the older two how to get their own breakfast cereal in the morning and how to cook oatmeal in the microwave. And I am grateful. He helped me by teaching our children how to do things for themselves. He was the youngest of five and learned how to be independent. Like in any large family, his siblings helped him and he learned to do things on his own. I came from a small family and my mom graciously did a lot of things for me. It wasn't until I lived on my own in college that I learned to do laundry and how to cook. And I could only make about 3 meals when I got married. Fortunately, I've learned a few more since then.
And as I sit here contemplating that the last one started preschool today and that I started writing this post 9 months ago, I have not slowed down too much. In fact not only haven't I slowed down, but neither has time. I'm sitting here feeling a little guilty that I am going to sit and take time to write and work on some personal goals. I have exactly 90 minutes to do that. Once Beanie gets home from preschool it will be business as usual: chores, errands, making dinner, coordinating the family calendar, and the usual to-do list. But this 90 minutes is mine to slow down, take stock, reflect, and renewal. #thisis40
Proverbs 16:9 In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.