April 22, 2011

How Time Goes By

All too often, when I’m out with my daughter, a toddler, and my son, an infant, we get wistful glances from older parents, coupled with a cliché I’ve just started to pay attention to:
It goes so fast.
I only just started understanding that statement, maybe because in the time since my son’s birth, my daughter’s verbal, physical, and intellectual developments have exploded.  At two, she’s telling my husband and me that conference rooms are places where people talk about ideas from their imaginations and she shushes me when her baby doll, who she’s affectionately named Peterkathy (coincidently the name of our neighbors) is sleeping in the middle of the kitchen.  
Tonight, we had dinner with our friends who have a seven- and a five-year-old, and another couple whose boys are in college and high school.  Our infant was screaming while we were trying to feed him pureed squash, so I removed him from the dining room and commenced to nursing him where it was darker and quieter in the house.  I was exasperated with this kid.  He’d napped better this afternoon than usual, but wasn’t eating well and was wide awake past his usual bedtime.  I haven’t found a rhythm with him, even having tried and tried and tried to establish a routine of feeding and napping times, and it seems to me that every night of his waking multiple times--which is each night of his little life, so far--points to that I’ll never really sleep well again, never trust my instincts, and for all this anxiety and exhaustion, miss out on some the best parts of mothering small children because I’m just so damn tired all the time.  (Even our kids’ pediatrician told me that my eyes look totally different these days.)
Our hostess, a dear friend, reminded me that this unpredictable part of infant care goes by in a flash.  She’s right.  I hardly remember having had these troubles with my daughter.  So much happens with a kid in one year.

When I look at my daughter’s seven-month pictures: she’s preverbal, but her personality is apparent.  She’s prone to laughter (like my son is, thankfully), she loves music, she expresses her excitement first through moving her legs around (we called her Happy Feet).  
videoIt was a fleeting moment in her infancy, because then she started crawling, and then talking, and then dancing, and now she mimics the arms of a clock when she hears the first ten seconds of Madonna’s “Hung Up,” wherein we hear the seconds on an analog clock tick-ing tick-ing tick-ing by.

I want these stages to last forever.  I love the way my son’s eyes curl up at me when he’s nursing, like he’s talking to me, and the way he laughs when I tickle him, and how incensed he gets when the toy he wants to play with is just out of reach, and his reaction when he rubs the mushed banana from his curious fingers onto his own cheek.  I love the way my daughter uses her little index fingers to emphasize that she wants vanilla milk, mom, not the regular stuff.  I love the way she announces that she’s ready for pajama time with her yelling Let’s... Get... NAKED! 

The first refrain of Madonna’s song gets stuck in my head most nights after our little girl’s let’s-get-naked, pre-pajama dance marathon: Time goes by... so slowly.  (The pace of the song picks up to a feverous beat--there’s nothing slow about it.)  And I’ve often had those days that just seemed to drone on, when I’m sure I’ve bent over a hundred times to pick something up off the floor, a hundred times to shuffle between the rocking chair and the crib, a hundred times to the changing table, the bath, the stove, the phone, the exersaucer, the highchair. 

And then suddenly, I’m changing the calendar and our boy has grown out of his pajamas again, and it’s time to rearrange his dresser with clothes that fit, and it’s time to find new shoes that don’t pinch, and my daughter’s using adverbs and forming complex sentences.  

I want to hold on to moments, so I take pictures, sometimes audio, sometimes video.  I share some of these on public sites like this blog or the Facebook page or our family website.  On the slowest of days, I look back at these to remind me just how fast it all goes.

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