Someone said that she was ten-and-a-half months the other day. Then I noticed the length of her. Her pale legs stretching longer and longer beyond the fold of my arm when I hold her.
On Babies and the Passage of Time
She rarely lets me cradle her anymore. She shrugs and strains to be put down, to roll around and attempt to follow after her very busy sister. Also, she wants to sit up, to play, to babble at strangers. When I carry her on my hip, her arms spread wide. She barely leans in, confident that I will not let her go. I won’t. Not ever. I remember just a few months ago, when her small, warm body, would mold to mine. In addition, she would tuck her cheek, her arms, her gently bowed legs, tight against my chest. Now, when I am holding her and she leans into me ever so slightly, I cling to that moment; I savor it.
For the briefest of moments, she rests her forehead against my cheek and I breathe deeply. I smell her cheeks, the downy hair just behind her delicate earlobes, the tender skin that pulls taught along her tummy and that perfectly-shaped belly button. Furthermore, her skin is unbelievably soft.
Sometimes I catch myself frantically searching my four-year-old’s skin for signs of the passage of time. She too still feels delicate and silky. There’s a catch in my chest; the relief that she too is still my baby, even though these days our oldest – who just started pre-k (today) – is all arms and legs and an endless stream of chatter that keeps all of us on our toes. Darn you, time.
When the baby is tired, she touches more.
Her hands move intentionally along my skin, her delicate fingers playing notes across my hands, my arms, my face. I want to catch her fingertips between my lips. I want her to know how deep my love for her runs. She won’t ever truly understand. Not until she herself is a mother someday. The need to protect her, to savor her, to cherish her, to love her forever and ever and ever, to keep her little.
I feel more sadness about the passage of time, the second time around.
It goes by so much faster with the second baby. With the first, I was a bundle of nerves; emotions firing at full speed. Exhaustion willing the time along. With our second child, I want to press pause; to put time on hold. I feel more sadness about the passage of time. When I put away baby clothes that no longer fit, I well up, and lament not taking more pictures. I’m not sure why I feel this way. All I can put my finger on is that I know, truly understand, how fleeting this time is. I know how good it is too. I want it all, I suppose.
Today I look at Emmeline and she feels so big, and somehow also so small. I remind myself not to blink. She’s nearly one years old, and surely, I will cry on her birthday; on the days leading up to and following her birthday too. Also, I’ll cry when her big sister starts Pre-K today.
I wish I could bottle it; the tininess and tenderness.
The love coursing heavy through my veins: that’s forever.
Mamas of multiple kids, did you find yourself lamenting the passage of time more with subsequent babies? Do you do anything different with each child to try to savor and soak up those baby years?
Photos by Annie Timmons Photography for Glitter, Inc.