they're regular kids
but really they're just babies
I was thinking about how, when the wee one was a baby, 3- and 4-year-olds seemed to be these frightening, exotic grown-up children who ran amuk at playgrounds and made me fear the future. At one point, even younger toddlers made me feel this way. What? They WALK? They have TEETH? They're SO OLD.
Now that I have kids in all kid departments (baby, pre-school, elementary) I have a whole new perspective on this. The wee one, my former baby who I refused to believe would ever get teeth or walk or become a rambunctious toddler, is now 7.5. He plays hard and rough, but he can make his own sandwiches (!) and when he's had enough of everything he'll take himself to his room to lay in bed and read a book. This is not frightening at all. It is a revelation!
And the wee-er one, who is 3.5, still seems like such a baby to me, especially compared to her older brother. I want to cuddle her and comfort her and dress her and chase her around. She seems old compared to Ike-a-saurus, but not THAT old. She is oldyoung. Biglittle. She, of course, resists all my attempts to hold her close and keep her still and smell her hair.
Ike-a-saurus is a whole story unto himself. Nearly 17 months old, but really 14 months adjusted. He has been an actual, physical baby longer than the other kids. He only weighs 16 pounds, so he is still really tiny. When the others were little, I marveled over how quickly their first year flew by. How, all of a sudden, they were walking and talking and running and eating. It's different with Ike. In some senses, he is still very much a baby. So many bottles, so much crawling. But in other ways, he's as old as his months tell us. He says "hi!" very clearly. He has signs for "milk" and "bye-bye" and we're working on "slide". He says "ja ja" for Georgia sometimes. "buh buh buh" for his bottle. He's mischievous and into everything. But he's still a baby. He's kind of like a Elfin child or something. Tiny, busy, baby-like, but not.
I struggle to believe I've been a mother this long. I think of the days when it was just me and the wee one, at home, truckin' through our afternoons. And it makes me realize that even though things are SO different now – so polar opposite of what they used to be – I'm incredibly lucky to have experienced all of these different facets of motherhood. From never having to worry about more than a cold or a bout with the stomach flu to now. From coasting through milestones like walking and talking without a second thought to now. From struggling with balancing two kids and thinking THAT was tough…
I've seen how it can be, I see how it is. It's hard to not think "I've seen how it should be," because there isn't really a "should be," you know? That's a hard thing to believe sometimes, but if I can remember that, I'm good. No "should be" just "how it is". I've seen it all from so many perspectives, and that is a kind of formidable gift.
I can't see how it will be, but I think that's OK. I don't really want to know, and I'm just amazed to be able see how things are today.