My youngest, Quinn Leo, turned two a few days ago. We had a fun day of cupcakes for breakfast, presents, bike riding and bounce house jumping. We didn't have a big party this year, we decided to just kept it simple and quiet. Yesterday we also took him to Van Saun Park for rides on the carousel and the train, and we walked around the zoo saying hello to all the animals.
He's such a little boy now. There is almost no baby left in him. He still wears diapers, but otherwise he is fully a toddler. Most of the baby gear items, like swings, saucers and high chairs were not in use after the first year, but at Quinn's first birthday, he was still mostly a baby. He wasn't talking and we were still nursing. Some kids don't walk until well after 12 months. At a year I could still easily call my child a baby. But now that he's turned two? Unfortunately there is no denying that my sweet baby is gone and he has been replaced by a toddler.
He is too big to rock in my arms, and I certainly can't carry him for any length of time. His feet stink and he smells like a little boy, all dirty and sweaty. He sits at the table with us and eats his meatballs and pasta like a little man. A month ago we cleaned all the baby toys out of the playroom. Yesterday we lent our crib to friends who are expecting their second. Just last week I took the jogging stroller and a cradle to the consignment store. He is also clearly speaking in sentences, which is much earlier than his brother, and is still new enough that it's a shocking reminder of just how grown up he is.
It's wistful, leaving the baby days behind. Babies are hard work, but they are so precious. It is so fleeting. I want to hold on to every memory and not forget how they felt sleeping in my arms, or wrapped up against me in a sling, or nursing in the rocking chair or how they smelled. It's hard to remember though, it makes me sad that those moments can't be returned to somehow, for just a minute.
I'm not usually very sentimental about things changing and time passing. I've always cheered loudly for my babies to reach the next milestone and to grow up and become more independent. I love the free time that it gives me, the full nights sleep and the ability to communicate with them in words. But right now I miss the babies that they once were. There is no going back (unless you are Benjamin Button) or unless I decide to have more kids. And I don't think that is going to happen. Maybe that's why it's bothering me a little. Because this is it! No more babies for me!
Now that the crib is gone, the boys are sleeping in a full size bed together. It's cute to see them cuddling in the middle of the night and it's a natural extension of co-sleeping to have them share a bed. Eventually they will want privacy, but for now I hope that it will make the transition out of our bed easier if they have each other at night.
As they get older I look forward to seeing their relationship develop. To see them become closer to each other. To see them rely on each other sometimes more than they rely on me. I encourage Quinn to ask Milo for help and I can tell that Milo likes that his brother is getting older and can play and pretend with him like a big kid.
Milo told me the night before Quinn's birthday, "Mom, I am so excited for Quinn to turn two." And the next morning it was so awesome to hear him say, "Quinn, you're two now!!" He was proud of Quinn growing up too. Of course there was the usual sibling rivalry over new toys and it was heightened by it being a birthday. Milo had a good number of break downs during the day, maybe from all the attention that Quinn was getting, but he also managed to steal the spotlight for a little while by learning to ride his bike.
Kids grow up, they get older and bigger and smarter, and we love every minute of their successes, but it also goes by too fast. It's such a cliche, but it's just so true. Things change before you know it and suddenly you have a completely different child than you did a year ago. I asked Milo why he had to grow up and he said, "So I can do bigger stuff Mom!" Ha! Such great wisdom for such a little guy. Bigger and better stuffs are to come and they will be just as fabulous as those heady baby days were.
I have to remember to enjoy the small moments, to try to stay in the present and to make the most of every day. Most of all though, I have to try to write more of it down, to try to capture how it felt and what it smelled like, before it's gone. I have thousands of pictures and hours of video, but sometimes it just doesn't quite describe the moments well enough.