One of the hardest things for me when it comes to being a mom is realizing that my baby is no longer a baby. I was so overjoyed Sarah turned one in September, but at the same time that joy was also met with much sadness. My baby, who I carried for 36 weeks and labored with for seven grueling hours (and I promise I am not being over dramatic at all), is now a walking, talking youngin’ who would rather play with tupperware and baby dolls than cuddle in her mommy’s arms.
Since I have come to realize my beloved Sarah will more than likely be my last, I have compiled a “sappy” list of moments from my experience with four kids that not just I, but most moms in general, either live for or dread. Which side are you on?
In order from “sappiest” to “aww, my baby!”
1. Baby No Longer Fits into Your Chest or the Crook of Your Arm
This is usually the first sign that your baby is starting to not be a baby any more. There is something about a baby fitting into that one spot of your arm that makes me all warm and fuzzy. Those snuggles are just the best. Take lots of pictures. Try to remember and cherish because they grow quick. The crook of your arm grows to accommodate the size of your child — but the newborn, the true baby — THAT is what you want to remember. It’s the one test that truly lets you know your tiny buddle of joy is growing up.
2. Toddler Hugs
It doesn’t matter how upset you are, when a toddler hugs you, it’s a wonderful feeling that can lift even the saddest of spirits. I have seen the grumpiest of old men cower when their 2-year-old grandchild gave them a hug. You can’t help but smile. The intention is pure. There is absolutely nothing like it.
3. Saying “Goodbye” to an All Gums Smile
I loved looking at those precious gummy grins. At the time, it feels like forever. You wonder if a tooth will ever appear. You imagine, in disbelief, what a mouth full of pearly whites will look like. This tiny person you carried forever who has never needed teeth … suddenly does? Besides the fact that sometimes teething can be an absolute nightmare, I miss the drooling toothless grins. (But at least my year old Sarah still has the drool.)
4. When They No Longer Want You to Walk Them Into School/Daycare
Sometimes this can happen sooner rather than later. Even if you still have to walk them into daycare, they may not want you to hold their hand because its so “uncool” as Andrew told me once (4 years ago), and even my oldest thought it was “so lame” for me to walk her into school for the first day of 5th grade last year. At least I have my youngest two, Sarah and Isla, who haven’t started school yet. But I’m still slightly worried how Day 1 will go, since they don’t even like my help walking them up the stairs.
5. When They no Longer Need Your Help
This was probably harder for my husband than me. Your child(ren) will always need you no matter what, it’s when THEY think they don’t need you that’s the hard part. Whether it’s putting on clothes or walking up stairs, they want to gain independence early on and as parents it’s our job to foster that independence — even if it means we are secretly crying on the inside.
6. The First Day of (insert whatever you want here)
Gymnastics, ballet, karate, school, daycare, college — whatever activity it is, the first day always brings much excitement and tears. I jumped for joy when Andrew turned three and I could finally put him in a sport. And currently we are counting down until December when Isla turns three so we can enroll her into ballet or let her play basketball. A much needed break — hooray! Another realization baby is growing up — cue tears!
7. Going from Mommy–>Mom/Daddy–>Dad
Or in my case, “Hey woman who is supposed to feed us and buy us stuff!” Kidding, kidding (kind of). But I love being called mommy. In fact I call my own mom, mommy still. But now my two oldest refer to me as mom. I only get mommy on birthdays, Christmas or random trips to Target when they want something. Truly sad for this “mommy” heart.
8. Goodbye Nick Jr., Hello Disney!
I know the great TV debate can be a big deal. I, for one, let my kiddos watch television. All in moderation, right? I remember Noggin (pre-Nick Jr.) on the screen and my oldest Alyssa and I watching Oswald and 64 Zoo Lane together when she was a tot. Next thing I know it was, “Mom take me to the movies to see High School Musical 3” … and then came the Jonas Brothers. With Andrew, my oldest son, it’s currently Marvel everything (and I mean everything). I enjoy our family TV/movie times together (and it’s not the only way we bond, but we are a big movie buffs). Next it will be high school football games and nights out with friends just to avoid family-time with mom and dad and siblings. Until that moment comes, I am going bask in spending Saturday evenings watching “Doctor Who” on the BBC with the kids. They have already pinky swore they would never give up on Who. And I am holding them to it.
9. When They Discover the Truth about Santa & the Tooth Fairy
I know not all families participate in Santa, the Easter Bunny and other fictional characters, but our family does. For us, there is something special about seeing their childlike wonder and excitement over the “magic” — it reminds me of the innocence and pure joy children experience in the simplest of things. But goodness, between the daily antics of Elf on a Shelf, the monetary demands of the tooth fairy and the strangeness of the Easter bunny leaving a chocolate version of himself to be eaten by toddlers, I do have a feeling the day when all four stop believing, the Mr. and I breathe a collectively sigh of relief, along with a little sadness. What other reason will we have to leave cookies out all night and write weird notes for the kids to read the next morning? (I mean we could do it on any random Tuesday if we wanted to, but that’s no fun).
10. Hearing “I Love You” for the First Time from Your Child
I still remember the exact moment when I heard “I love you” from my each of my children (don’t worry, I will share how to have an astounding mom memory some other time). This is, without a shadow of a doubt, a moment that I will carry in my heart forever — especially when accompanied by kisses. Once perfected, kids will always say “I love you!” at the sweetest moments, usually in public, really loud so everyone can hear. Which is perfectly fine by me.