I think I’m in a little bit of denial. Josie is walking, and yet I can’t help thinking that she’s still a baby. I put her in her baby tub, and she displaces more than half the water. When we go for a walk, Sarah insists on carrying Josie in the Baby Bjorn, and she has to suck in her lungs to get that last clasp to hook. Even this blog is called Babies and Dogs.
We have a toddler, and every time Josie walks around the house looking like a drunken Frankenstein, a wave of baby nostalgia washes over me. I’m not really sure why: reviewing my iPhoto library, there are A LOT of crying photos. And I certainly do remember the months of interrupted sleep, as her crying pulled me out of the depths of a dream, to rise like a zombie and lumber into the kitchen to prepare a warm bottle at 1:30 in the morning. And remember the dreaded ‘toilet dunk’ before we got her to go on the potty? Perhaps it’s the knowledge that soon she’ll be throwing tantrums, hoarding toys from others with declarations of “MINE!,” and generally becoming a little monster. And with it, will come a whole different kind of exhaustion, one that I’m guessing will be much more demanding than changing diapers and making up bottles.
Yesterday while I was cutting up some things for her lunch, she was clutching at my pant leg and she was being a little impatient. Then she screamed. But unlike every time before she has ever made a loud exclamation, its was very distinct that she wasn’t just trying to communicate her hunger. On top of “I’m hungry,” she had very clearly added “And I want my banana NOW you slow bastard!” And just as clearly I made it known to her that this was not okay. Bye bye Daddy Day Care, hello Parenting.
Having children certainly makes you understand and appreciate your parents better. I understand, only now, why I always felt my parents were being overprotective of my safety as a teenager. Your kids never really grow up in your mind. Even when they are adults, I’m guessing that they’re still your babies, and just as my parents still worry about me, I’ll still be worrying about Josie when she’s an adult. She won’t remember any of this, but I’ll still remember, like it was yesterday, bringing her home for the first time and being a little terrified that I was completely responsible for the safety of this tiny fragile person. Just putting her to sleep the wrong way and she could pass silently away in the night. Life’s tenuous and you don’t realize it until you’re an adult, so I really can’t think yet about handing my car keys over to her in a short 15 years. For now, I’ll just cover up coffee table corners with my hand as she toddles by, and try my best not to use the word ‘bastard’ out loud for her to pick up like a shiny new toy.