Thursday, February 28, 2013

I am a Mom of Big Kids

I came to a somewhat startling realization the other day.

I am a Mom of Big Kids.

Now, before we get too far, I am well aware that at ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2, my kiddos are still "little kids" in the big picture of childhood.  They still need my help to button their pants and brush their hair and cut their food for them at meal time.  I guess the "startling" part of my realization was more clearly this...

I am no longer a Mom of a Baby.

It happened when I stumbled into a conversation in which a group of Moms were talking about baby led weaning.  I had absolutely no idea what they were referring to.  I knew what 'baby' meant.  I was good with 'led.' And I had (what I thought) was a fairly good understanding of 'weaning.'  Put those three words together, though, and I was clueless.  Was this actually a "thing?"  I actually had to Google it later to find out what it was because 1.) in general, I am a curious person and 2.) I didn't want to feel "out of the (baby) loop" any more.  And yes.  It is a "thing."  Very much so.  

This was the first time I had been totally blindsided by something related to being a Mom of a Baby.  My own kids are only 22 months apart, so I felt like we went from one just on his way to Toddler Town, and then jumped right back into BabyVille again.  For the most part, when topics related to being a Mom of a Baby came up, I could relate and generally knew what people were talking about.  Even if it wasn't something I did with my own baby, I was at least aware of the topic, or had vaguely heard of whatever was being discussed.  This time, however, I had no clue.  I knew the day would come when I wasn't a citizen of BabyVille any more, but nonetheless, it felt like it snuck up on me a little bit.

It dawned on me again in talking about baby registry stuff with my sister.  I was finding out just how much had changed in the world of baby gear since I had my son.  There is a new "must have" bottle, stroller styles are different and you can't find a drop-down side crib anywhere.  (This will make me feel extra old...many of you reading this don't even know what that is...) The things I had used were still on the shelves, but were no longer the "it" items.  There was a time when I felt like I was "in the know" about baby gear and gadgets.  I now feel like I'm more "around the know" ... or maybe "adjacent to the know" ... or perhaps "down the street from the know."  A lot of the stuff is basically the same, but the amount of change in what Moms of babies are using now had the same thoughts entering my brain...

I am no longer the Mom of a Baby.

I have to admit, it did make me sad.  For a minute. I have so many precious memories wrapped up in those first weeks and months with my kiddos!  I loved being the Mom of a Baby.  

I loved having a sleeping baby curled up on my chest.  I loved their teeny, tiny little fingers and toes.  I loved the look of wonder on their faces when they discovered those fingers were theirs...and {gasp!}...they could actually control them.  I loved the smell of all things baby.  (Well, maybe not all things, but you get the picture.)  I loved their little baby fat rolls on top of baby fat rolls.  I loved those first few smiles.  I loved being the Mom of a Baby.

But that sad feeling really was just for a minute, because I have come to realize that...

I love being the Mom of Big Kids, too.

My 4 1/2 year old has just learned how to play checkers.  It is amazing to sit and play a game with him and see his little wheels turning as he plans where his next move will be.  He gleefully instructs "King me!" when he reaches my end of the board.  He smiles and tells me "I'm coming after your kings, Mom!" as the game reaches the end.  He is looking and talking more and more like a Big Kid.  And even though it's hard to see my baby growing up some days, I remind myself it's OK. 

 It's better than OK, actually. It's amazing.
Our family can play a game of Memory together.  We can go catch a movie at an actual movie theater together (as long as said movie is animated...under 90 minutes...but I'll take it).  We can go from one adventure to the next (please note, 'adventures' at this point in life refer to Meijer, the mall or the library, for the most part), and not have to worry about who has to nap when or what time the next feeding will be.  We can leave for the afternoon and not bring half of our house with us.  

My kids tell me jokes now.  (They are still more like statements at this point, but in their mind, they are jokes).  My kids draw pictures for me now.  My kids sing Disney songs to me now.  They are becoming their own little selves, and I get a front row seat to watch it all unfold.  

I know the time will fly.  I know all to soon, I'll be realizing I'm the Mom of School Age Kids.  Of Teenagers.  Of College Kids.  Of Married Kids.  Of Grandkids.  

For now, I'm going to fondly remember being the Mom of a Baby, and revisit those days through pictures, stories and memories. 

For now, I'm going to celebrate being a Mom of Big Kids.  I think I hear another game of checkers calling my name...

Whether you are currently a Mom of a Baby or just remember being one, You Are a Good Mom.  Whatever stage of motherhood you are in, embrace it and enjoy it.  (Moms of teenagers, my heart goes out to you all.  Please take notes so you can tell me what to do when I get there!)  Live in the moment of every stage, as they fly by much too quickly.  As you look back on the end of one phase, look ahead to the new adventures that lie in the next.  Through them all, rest assured that indeed, You Are a Good Mom.

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