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The youngest of my trio will be two next month but to me she will always be the baby. I feel like I have spent more time savouring all her baby-ness than I ever did with my older two. While I can’t say with 100% certainty that she will be our last one, I want to enjoy every single moment with her as if she is.
I have (and will) put off many of the things that signify she is growing up. In fact, it’s only today that we finally converted her crib to a toddler bed (I will let you know how that goes in another post). My older two were sleeping in “big kid” beds much earlier and each for their own reasons. She hasn’t indicated any need or want to move into a “big kid” bed and if it wasn’t for the inconvenience it’s caused on our frequent overnight stays with family I would gladly keep her in the crib for as long as she wanted.
She also still drinks from a bottle, uses a pacifier and wears diapers.
And, unlike the first or even the second time, I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever to change that. I’m sure I will be judged – it’s what people do – but I don’t care. Because I cared SO much the last two times. I spent months potty training a child who wasn’t ready and don’t even remember the baby years of the middle one.
I thought there was some prize, some satisfaction in having my baby grow up faster. Being potty trained early, not needing a bottle or a blankie – surely that was a sign that they were more intelligent than their peers, right? “They’re so mature for their age” I thought, “such fast learners.”
But now they’ve caught up to their peers. Everyone at school is potty trained. Everyone drinks from a cup and no one brings their blankies for show and tell. There was no prize, no satisfaction in the stress and the pressure that I put on myself all those years.
Instead, I lost their baby-ness. Somewhere between going from one child to two and daycare and peer pressure – I lost it. And then I grieved that loss when I sold all my baby gear in a garage sale. I thought our baby days were over and I would have nothing but memories and regrets of days gone by too quickly.
But then SHE came along. After they told me more babies wasn’t in my future. After a first trimester emergency surgery to have her removed only to discover her growing strong and healthy. She was my do-over… a second chance to embrace everything I felt I had missed out on.
So while three kids has become a marathon, I move in slow motion when I’m with her. She will grow up one day but to me, she will always be the baby.
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