When I found out I was pregnant, my mother told me to cherish each moment because they grow up so fast. It didn’t seem very fast when I brought my new bundle of joy home from the hospital. There were feedings every 2 hours, crying fits for unknown reasons and a million things to do. My new baby girl needed me for everything. Then yesterday, I finally understood what my mother was saying. My 15 month old toddler climbed up on the couch next to me, crossed her feet, put her hands in her lap, looked up at me and very clearly said “Hi”. I looked down at her and wondered where the time had went. My baby was very quickly turning into a little girl, a very independent toddler girl. Gone are the days of her complete dependence on me. She no longer needs me to feed her, burp her and carry her around. Now, if she can’t do it herself, she’s just not interested in doing it. Rocking her to sleep (one of my previously favorite activities), no longer holds the appeal to her it once did. My days of researching baby sleep patterns, vaccines and colic have been replaced with my frantic searches for activities to keep my rambunctious toddler entertained in the coming winter months.
I find myself missing the midnight feedings. I never would have imagined that! One moment they are tiny infants needing you for everything and the next independent toddlers mastering new skills to make their dependence on you wane each day. Parenting is an ever evolving process. These days, I find my joy in watching her learn new things every day and seeing the world through her eyes. It’s amazing to watch her develop a personality all her own (even if it’s at times stubborn and fiercely independent). In the last few months, she’s gone from her first few wobbly steps to running, from her first word (da-da) to an ever growing vocabulary. I’m learning to slow down and treasure the moments. The stages they outgrow never come back. As I look back at pictures, I find myself forgetting what it felt like to hold her when she was just 7 ½ pounds and 20” long. So now, if I’m asked for my best mothering advice, it’s cherish each moment because they grow up so fast.