I have 4 daughters and I have adamantely stated that I LOVE the newborn stage. What’s not to love? Sleep and nurse, that’s all they do! I love the fact that they are so portable and you can go ANYWHERE with them, especially if you are babywearing and nursing. The thought of having another baby was always fueled by my memories of tiny fingers and toes and endless hours of rocking and cooing. My dear, long time, bestie ,@beautiful1s, reminded me of some wisdom someone shared with her, “Having babies and raising children are two different things”. Ain’t that the truth.
Previously, I had equated the toddler years with chasing little people around the playground who needed help but didn’t want any. (@veronicatheblog, you would be happy to know that I have ‘outsourced’ that job to the big Gs, *wink*) I am experiencing a shift. I am starting to notice that I am falling in love with this little toddler of mine! She asks the cutest questions; “Mommy, are you Elmo?” , “Mommy, can I sit in your lap?”. She allows her big sisters to dress her up and mimic poses from Toddlers and Tiaras (*ahem*, who lets them watch that show anyway! lol!), she loves to sing, and she is quite a humorous little girl. What’s not to love ?!?!? (for the record, the exception is toddler, stinky, diapers. Bring on the ‘Potty Learning’!)
I just do not remember being so enamored with my other girls at this age. As I started to remember the dynamics surrounding each G’s ‘Tour of Toddlerhood’, I began to see why.
G1: Enjoyed 8 months of maternity leave with her and since I worked from home, once I returned to work, I wasn’t away from her much. I was pregnant with G2 before she turned 2, so I spent much of her toddler period pregnant and caring for a newborn.
G2: Once she turned 13 months…yes, I was pregnant again. I had stopped working, a few months before and I was thoroughly enjoying being a full-time mother. Before she turned 2, I had another baby and was trying to figure out how in the world I was going to handle 3 children, all under the age of 5!
G3: We moved from DC to GA on her 1st birthday. The following year was filled with moving boxes and trying to navigate our new surroundings. I would miss her 2nd birthday because I was away with my mom as she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. We moved my mom in with us and the next year was spent taking her to chemo, doctor appointments, and experiencing a lot of anxiety and then extreme sadness after her death.
I was pregnant with Baby #4 8 months after the loss of my mother. It was hard to separate the extreme grief I was still experiencing from the anticipation of a new arrival. This would be my largest space between children, 4 1/2 years.
Our life is still somewhat hectic. This is the first time that I have been ‘formally’ homeschooling with a baby around. Surprisingly, the Gs are just as thrilled with her today as they were 2 years ago when they watched her birth. I thought after 6 months, the excitement would have diminished, and she would just be a little sister always in their stuff. I am so impressed by how much they adore her.
We went through a long period of time with only 1 car. It was amazing to see how someone who once liked to go, go, go, was actually quite content spending most days at home. This factor may have played a huge part in providing the opportunity to be present and really take in the fun aspect of the toddler stage.
Today I celebrate G4 and the gift I never knew was part of this business called parenting. Happy Birthday “AA”! Now let’s working on saying your real name :).
Is there a particular stage of your child’s development that you didn’t expect to enjoy but you did/do?