Thursday, April 26, 2007

Where's my baby?

About to hit the 19-month-being-a-mom mark I would've thought I'd have gotten used to these growth spurts that creep up on you unexpectedly. By the time Ana was 6 months old I had come to anticipate them and would naturally assume a sleepless night or bout of fussiness could be attributed to just that. But now, as my baby gets ready to turn another month I have to admit, it's hit me like a mack truck.

When I picked Ana up from my mom's on Sunday the first thing I could think was "she's gotten so much bigger!" As she laid there, sprawled out on the living room floor taking a nap, I almost didn't recognize her. Who was this toddler? Where was my chubby baby? Why can I now see her neck which, until recently, could only be revealed by pulling away a couple of little chins? Where was her round belly that so often resembled the pregnant belly I have now? And where, oh where, were those tiny noises she used to make while asleep that never failed to melt our hearts a little more each time. Well, they're gone. Her little fat rolls have been replaced with muscle. She now has a neck that can be seen even when she's not looking straight up. Her belly has flattened out and her tiny noises now resemble her daddy's snores.

I make it a point to stop and look at her, really look at her, at least several times a day. Since the moment she was born I have made it my mission to try as hard as I could to take it all in, to slow down everyday and take her in. It has become a permanent item on my "to do list" to burn the memory of her days on earth into my brain. And for the most part, I thought I'd been pretty successful. But now, as I learn to see her through different eyes - as a toddler mama, rather than a baby mama - I feel like I've missed it all . When in the world did this happen? When did she get so big? And more importantly, where was I???

Every part of me knows how much there is to look forward to and love about this next part of mommyhood - the new milestones, her developing sense of independence - but you'll have to excuse me if, at times, rather than revel in our new adventures, I choose to sit in the corner and pout because I miss my baby.

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