Friday, December 10, 2010

Can't we slow down? Just a little bit?

When did my children get so old? It's cliche, I know, but it seems like just yesterday that they were babies. Wasn't it just last week that Sophie and Nicholas were itsy bitsy little things being tube-fed in the Special Care Nursery? Wasn't it just last year that Lucas was bouncing up and down in his exersaucer laughing his infection little chubby-cheeked, dimpled giggle? Where has the time gone?

Last night, as I was getting pajamas out for Nicholas to wear to bed, he informed me that he wanted to pick out his own pajamas. He then shuffled me out the door and insisted that he needed "pwivacy" to get dressed. So there I stood in the hallway staring at his closed bedroom door, stunned. Since when does Nicholas...the child who until yesterday would run through the house naked with no qualms whatsoever...need privacy to dress? And when did I become a person who was not welcome in his bedroom?

And then while brushing the kids' teeth last night, Lucas reached into his mouth and pulled out his own loose tooth. Not only did he pull it himself...a pretty mature act on its own....but I believe that it was his very last baby tooth. His cute little dimpled baby grin has been replaced with an awkward smile made up of random gaps and teeth than are too large and cumbersome for his seven-year-old mouth. He's entering that "awkward" period when children are no longer cute little chubby babies and not yet big enough for their burgeoning adult features. It makes me sad to see his chubby cheeks thinning out....those deeply dimpled cheeks I have have loved kissing since the day his 10 pound 6 ounce little body first burst onto my scene and dismantled my world. He is getting taller. He is getting thinner. He is becoming much more of a kid and much less of my baby boy.

And Sophie...don't even get me started on Sophie. My sweet little baby has turned into a sassy little girl. She has her own ideas. Her own sense of (questionable) style. Her own preferred way of doing things. She's only four years old and she is already spurning my advice. She doesn't care for my input or opinion most days. She has to assert her independence every single minute of every single day.

Next year, all three of my children will be in school. My role as the most important person in their lives will slowly begin to diminish. They will make friends who will influence them. They will have teachers who inspire them. They will meet other adults who they will want to emulate. Yes, I will always be their mother. But I will no longer be their everything.

I know the whole goal of parenthood is to raise independent, assertive children who can go out into the world and be productive, contributing members of society. I think this is an honorable goal and one that I am happy to work towards. But why does it have to happen so fast? Can't we hold off a few more years on independence? Can't assertiveness be shelved for another day...way off in the future? I just want to hold onto them. Baby them. Cuddle them. Kiss them. I want to continue to be their entire world the way that they are mine. Is that too much to ask?


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