He thinks he is four years old. He thinks he is as big and as able as his brother. He does his best to prove that he is, and what he lacks in actual skill, he makes up for in confidence.
He dives head first off the couch.
He jumps from the platform toward the fireman pole at the playground with complete abandon. (Good thing I am there to make sure he actually touches the pole before he hits the ground.)
He insists on climbing up and down stairs facing forward, standing up, just like a normal, fully-grown human being.
He wants to “use” the potty every time I change his diaper although he hasn’t quite figured out what “use” means.
He says “Bye-bye” to everyone and everything, whether they know he’s there or not. (Bye-bye train, bye-bye plane.)
And yet I’m not really ready to say bye-bye to my baby.
Okay, he’s not a baby, I know that. He’s a toddler. His brother reminds me of that all the time. And, truly, I don’t mind saying goodbye to a lot of those baby things. Teething? Good riddance. Diapers? Thank you, but you’re welcome to leave now. Spit-up? I hope I don’t get to smell you again for a long time.
And my baby? He’s becoming more independent, more difficult to guide and reign in. He’s squirmy and defiant. He’s loud and opinionated. And it is harder for me to know how to protect him and when to let him find out that he really isn’t as big as he thinks he is.
I have become more independent since I became a mom as well. More opinionated. More vocal in my defense of myself and my children. What I would have let slide 4 years ago is now met with at least a little bit of defiance. I’m the mom. This is my family. I can handle it, thank you for your thoughts, but good-bye.
At times, I miss the babyhood of my motherhood. Like when the hardest part was deciding whether or not to give Tylenol to a cranky child. Or the simplicity of, “He’s either tired, hungry, dirty, or teething.” I miss the predictability that led to burp clothes scattered around the apartment. We knew what was coming. We just didn’t know when, or where.
The stakes are getting higher now, and will only continue to climb. The decisions are getting tougher and there are more voices and noises to distract me from making the right one. So although I don’t always know what is best, maybe, sometimes, the best thing I can do is move forward with confidence. And then, if I’m wrong, hope I can catch myself before I hit the ground.