Monday, March 3, 2014

the final countdown to another year

"Your 23-month-old: Week 4", was the heading this time.

You know those weekly emails for parents of babies, where you can read little tidbits about what they should be doing, tips based on their age, or insight about what's right around the corner?  I've been getting that weekly email from BabyCenter since I was expecting Leo. Sure, I kept up with them for most of the first year. Interested in the information and reinforced by where Leo was at in his milestones. But close to the first birthday, as Leo started to drift somewhere behind the expected milestones and the information seemed geared toward a toddler instead of my baby, I stopped paying attention and just started deleting them. 

Until this one arrived. This one caught my eye. This one cemented the fact that my baby boy, my little guy, my now toddler, is on the eve of turning 2.

The countdown is now on like no other. The last "monthly" birthday has come and gone, 1 month old to 23 month old celebrations have passed, and soon he will only be 2. Just plain and simple 2.

Excuse me as I get into my feelings...

Leo is my last. The last one to cuddle, to rock in the middle of the night, to play pat-a-cake with. Thank the sweet Lord he is my last one in diapers! But even still, he is the last to look up at me with that sweet little face and hold on to my leg, unable to speak yet what he really needs but able to communicate it with his eyes and his voice. The last one to drool on me, have the snot wiped away with my sleeve, to be carried around until my shoulders hurt, share with me those giggly belly laughs, and capture me with the rosy chubby cheeks and big blue eyes. To pull my hair, scratch my hands as I struggle to get him to sleep, wake me night after night after night with teething, scream when I put him down, and yes... he is my last baby. 

And now, he is truly in the last few days of being my last baby, because in less than 1.5 more... he will only be my toddler.

With Leo, I've had a full two years to enjoy his being a baby. I think he knew that. With my first, I looked forward to each milestone and checked each one off like clockwork. For the second child, he flew through each milestone so quickly I barely kept up. With both, the year of being a baby whizzed by. But with Leo, he took his time and allowed me to savor each moment with anticipation and celebration. His time as a baby stretched fully through 23 months, but there is nothing I can do to slow down time or stop the process.

When you're expecting a child with Down Syndrome, you encounter lots different reactions and comments. One comment I remember is "you'll get to enjoy your baby longer." It was confusing to me at the time, but now I understand. Now I know, she was right. Yes, I did. Twice as long! I consider myself blessed.

Because now, my baby boy will be no more. My toddler who just began walking steadily at 23 months and is now walking all around the house, is walking right into a new phase. 

I'm being honest when I say I'm sad to say goodbye to my sweet little baby... 

yet somehow, I'm excited to welcome him to this new adventure of toddlerhood, and to see him growing into who he is meant to be. 

with love,

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