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Monday, September 7, 2009

Not a Baby!

This is a new one to me. My first two children, born three years apart, always relished being "the baby," and languished in the care and devotion we gave them. I realize now that instead of loving them in a way that was best for them, I was actually smothering them, inhibiting their independence. I know I did this for two reasons: one, it's just plain easier to put a child's shoes on, rather than wait forty-five minutes for them to do it themselves; and two, I couldn't possibly imagine my sweet little baby being anything but a baby. I couldn't make myself see them as independent, growing children.

I'm doing a heck of a lot better now. My kids have probably more independence than is good for them. I know a lot of people disagree with my parenting practices, and that's okay. I know my kids are safe and loved and, most of all, developing into amazing, interesting people.

But this new Beastie-ism is just too much. I've never heard it, because I was such an overprotective mom in the past, and it makes me a little sad and reminiscent to hear her say it. And say it she does, a hundred times a day - "I not a baby! I a big girl."

I call her my baby - "Come here, sweet baby girl"; I dote on her like a baby - "Did that mean Daddy say no? It's okay, baby doll"; I even dress her like a baby. But she's not a baby. She's a big girl. She's two, which is a tenth of the way to twenty, which means the next time I blink, she'll be in college, calling home and asking for money.

Beastie and I always cuddle together at night, and talk about our day. I hold her in my arms in the recliner or on the bed, and I rub her beautiful wispy strawberry blonde hair, and she tells me what we did. "We went to Gwamma's," she says. "We saw Gwamma's doggie. I saw a mouse... he so cuuuute!"

"He was cute," I agree. "And it was so funny when Grandma's dog ran around outside."

And then it slips out. "Remember, baby girl?"

The moment is ruined. "I NOT A BABY!" she informs me, sternly. "I a BIG GIRL." She shows me with her arms just how big she is.

"Yes," I tell her. "You are my big girl." And then, inside, I whisper, But you'll always be my baby.

2 comments:

Witchy Mom's Homeschool said...

I feel the same way! My 12 year old always rolls her eyes when I tell her she'll always be my baby, but I also think she secretly loves it :) The other 2 are too little to protest the title just yet ;)

breedermama said...

Somehow I had missed this post. It made me well up with tears. My big boy truly is big at seven. But my little guy isn't too far behind your Beastie at 15 months. Soon he'll be telling me how big he is. :(