When you are pregnant, the most common sentiment that you hear from other mothers is that “it goes so fast.” Since you hear this constantly and have no frame of reference, you nod knowingly in appeasement and sort of shrug. I mean, time goes fast. We all get that, parents or not.
But girlfriend. Let me tell you. Once you have sat in the front row and witnessed the grand spectacle of a newborn growing and changing into an infant into a celebrated 1 year-old into an unmistakable toddler, cooing to smiling to laughing to speaking words, lying immobile to faceplanting at the playground,
that is when your eyes water and your heart aches when you look at the clock, when you feel the weight of its motion, never ceasing, never slowing. It goes too fast. We move too fast. That baby left us too fast.
And in that same breath, we exhale with the immeasurable joy of your person, the uncontainable explosion of your personality that delights and surprises and horrifies us every day. We are so grateful to know this you, a little girl with preferences and peculiarities that are all your own.
Toddlerhood is a trip,
baby little girl. Taking care of a baby is exhausting in the most basic lack of sleep, you can have the baby back if I can take a nap sort of way. Parenting a toddler is exhausting in the THIS TANTRUM WILL NEVER END, YOU CAN HAVE THE BABY BACK FREE OF CHARGE PLEASE SOMEONE TAKE THIS STRANGER OUT OF MY HOME sort of way.
You are a force, a tiny cyclone of electricity that is this way and that way, getting into this drawer, taking that off the counter, putting on those shoes, stepping on that tail, never, ever ending. (Until “Frozen” is on.) It’s physically tiring to chase after you, but it’s even more mentally draining to be responsible for this little human who seems hell-bent on discovering the most dangerous scenarios possible in a relatively safe environment and just going to town. Yes, climb on top of that unsteady ottoman. Yes, jump like you’re on a trampoline a quarter inch from the edge of the bed. Sure, why choose to walk around in Mama’s ballet flats when there are 4 inch stilettos for the taking.
I always judged women who admitted to losing their temper with their kids. I mean, they’re just kids, poor tiny innocent doe eyed kids. Ease up, woman! And then, I actually had one of those doe eyed innocents. And here I am some days, the spitting image of all the impatient, voice-raising, “If I have to tell you one more time,” shrill, no fun mothers that I was certain I would not be. I don’t want to apologize for those days, Addison. They are all part of this impossible-to-do-right chaos of mothering, and you can ride that singular fraying nerve like a longboard.
But I do want to tell you that that I try so very hard to remember the other days of this often challenging season. The days when you let me pick you up to peek at the blueberry pancakes on the griddle and you giggle with anticipation. The days that you mimic the “beep, beep, beep” of the microwave from your crib as I heat your milk. The mornings when drinking your bottle at the other end of the couch is traded in for squeezing right up next to me. When instead of jerking your hand away at the park, you hold it up high, inviting me to join on this particular adventure. The one single day when you could not kiss my face enough, reaching up and taking my chin with a delicate grip and scrunching your face into a kiss right on my lips. Yes, that day is staying right here with me for awhile.
You color our world, Addison Brooke. You love performing for an audience, waving to strangers and shouting a brusque ”hey” if you don’t receive the appropriate response. You are obsessed with shoes–anyone’s–and shutting doors. You don’t mind getting dirty or going to bed when you’re tired. It seems that you learn new words every day, and remember things we’ve said or shown you only one time. You share with other kids (just not with me or your father) and will watch “Curious George” for a week straight. You’ve grown tall and lost most of your infant chub, which breaks my heart a little, especially the absence of those baby thighs that deserved individual names (Anderson and Cooper if we’re getting specific).
Maya is your best friend, and her wagging tail, wet kisses and back rolling tickle you to pieces. She tolerates you.
One of your favorite games is to “hide” when Daddy gets home. You will run to your room or behind my legs saying, “Shh! Shh!” You talk a big game, but when it comes to actually surprising anyone, you simply don’t have the patience to sit and wait for them. You are jumping out screaming, “Boo!” before he even gets in the house.
Some days, I am pacing the floor until your bedtime because raising you is not always an easy undertaking. But even on those days, when your Daddy or I pick you up and head towards your room, the idea of being away from you tugs at my heart. Whatever tantrums the day held, sleepy Addison is sweet and affectionate. You wave good night over our shoulder in a small, slow motion. You point to your cheek for a kiss. And then another. And then another. All the way into your crib, you ask for one more kiss. Some nights I have to walk away while you’re still pointing at your cheek or I’m sure I’d be there at sunrise, leaning down into your bed, my hair tickling your nose, pecking at your little face.
I am so glad that I’m the one who gets to hold your hand on the way to the car, who hears the full out laugh elicited by bath time splashing, the one who is asked for one more kiss.
I am so glad to be your Mama, Addison Brooke.