Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bigger Enough

Dear Baby B,

Yes, I know that you are technically no longer a baby.  I don't care.  I will call you baby until my dying breath, like it or not.  It doesn't matter how old or how tall or how smart you get, you will always be my baby.

And baby, I've been thinking a lot lately about how desperately you want to be "bigger enough" to do so many of the things you see the rest of us doing.  These tasks are irresistible to you.  They tantalize you with their apparent ease and make you feel ready to jump in with both feet.

But I know you, my wild child.  Well enough to recognize what you're ready for and where you need to be held back.  I remember how much you wanted to climb onto that school bus with J & R because you could sense their excitement.  I remember how earnestly you pleaded with me and tried to convince me that you would be bigger enough "morrow" to go with them.  But I also knew that you would've only made it two steps onto that bus.  And then you would have looked back at me and realized in a panic that I wasn't coming with you, and you would have scrambled back into my arms with tears streaming down your face.

I remember the day we were out exploring the woods with J &R.  We were having such fun, and then the neighbor kids came running over and stole your siblings away to go play at their house.  You were heartbroken as you watched them walk away and leave you behind.  I remember how hard you were to console and how you didn't understand why you couldn't tag along.

But, baby, you are not bigger enough to go roam the woods and the neighbor's house without supervision.  Or to go to school.  Or to do all the big kid things that you yearn to do.  You're not ready for the freedom that comes with good judgement, because baby, your judgement isn't all that great quite yet.  You still fall off furniture that is too high for you to be climbing.  You still pull all of Daddy's floss out of the container and leave it strewn all over the bathroom.  You still try to touch hot things just to see if it really hurts as much as I say it will.  And you still always go for the knives even after Daddy nearly sliced your finger off while you were helping him make apple pie.
You have a ways to go, my dear.  You have some growing and some learning and some calming to do before you're bigger enough for all the things you want to do each day.  You'll have to trust me to teach you and keep you safe and be wise enough to know when you're ready for new things.

But baby, there are so very many things that you can do just perfectly right now.  It's ok to sit back and enjoy all the wonders that life holds for you right at this moment, without longing for those things that will come in due time.

You're bigger enough to climb onto my lap, invited or not, and curl up with your warm head leaning on my chest.  You can run pell-mell all over with the pitter patter of your bare feet on the wood floors echoing through the house.  You can confidently climb up and down both sets of stairs with only a rare tumble.  You're bigger enough to climb in and out of your crib even though you're not supposed to.  You are big and fierce enough to insist that you help with each and every food prep endeavor.  Which seems to be providing you with just the right training if you plan to grow up and become an angry chef.
You're bigger enough to recognize when you've hurt someone and you say sorry and give them lingering hugs and kisses without being prompted to do so.  You can sense it in my voice when you've crossed the line and hurriedly pretend that you were really complying, rather than defying, all along.  You're big enough to stand your ground when someone bigger and stronger tries to take something that you are playing with, whether it belongs to you or not. 

You're bigger enough to demand autonomy and independence and often insist, "No!  Me do it!"  You are big enough to style my hair, even when I have just finished doing the same thing myself.  You love to be my little shadow and insist in participating in everything I am doing.  Yes, everything.  You're big enough to find technology irresistible and to "fix" things in ways that we find difficult to un fix.

You're bigger enough to say things in the most endearing ways.  Like, "Me almost love you!"  You're big enough to pick yourself up and brush yourself off when you fall.  Sometimes.  And you recognize when your hurt extends beyond your ability to shrug off and you come to me with outstretched arms and eyes brimming with tears.  And then you're bigger enough to wrap your arms tightly around my neck and bury your head in my shoulder.  And that is the very best thing about how big you are right at this moment.

You're bigger enough to have grown out of your extremely non-cuddly baby days and into being the most cuddly, affectionate child we have.  Whose very favorite thing in all the world is to snuggle under a blanket with her Mama.
And I am loving that.

Because in the future, when you are off doing and being, I will still linger in these moments when your arms were exactly bigger enough to wrap around me.  I will still feel your fingers running through my hair, making it "so pretty."  And I will still hear your sweet voice in my ear telling me that you almost love me.
Because baby, I almost love you, too.  And I always will.

1 comment:

Mom said...

I love the photos of your "bigger enough" baby.