… and never let go! NEVER!
Being a new and anxious mother, I was always looking forward to the next stage in Liam’s development. I wouldn’t say I was rushing it, really, but watching Aava grow before my very eyes when she lived with me, it was hard not to anticipate the same growth in my own child. Many-a-seasoned mother have said to me “Don’t rush it! Cherish the moments now.” And I’d like to believe I did. When Liam started crawling, I relished in the balance of that new found freedom and the little baby who still wanted to be held from time to time. Then he started babbling, and certain distinct words could be made out of it. I can admit, though, it would’ve been a sweeter experience, had he said “Mama” instead of “Dada”.
We’re still working on it.
Then, along with his teething, came the standing up and holding on and taking steps. All very exciting. I jokingly call him my big boy, and in theory, he is pretty big. And heavy. And a chore to hold for extended periods of time. My poor arms. But, when I sit on the ground with him and watch his excited quick-crawl towards me or when he’s in his sleepy mode and wants nothing more than to cuddle, I know I still have my baby.
A new development has arisen that really makes me appreciate the constant reminder of cherishing a baby’s every living moment. No hands. NO HANDS! I couldn’t believe it. One minute he was invading my personal space, as usual, entertained at something on my phone screen and the next minute, I felt nothing on me. Yet, strangely, he was still standing. It took me so much by surprise that my natural mommy reflexes caused me to throw my hand behind his back to “catch his fall”- he wasn’t falling- causing him to off-balance and land on his bum. So yeah, I practically ruined the moment. If he was planning to take his first steps at that point, well, now we will never know. But, leave it to Liam to make sure that I knew his standing alone the first time was no fluke. He did it about three more times that day.
Baby growth; it really is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean strange and hard to follow. I continue to think that it’s a standard cycle, a chain reaction of sorts, and one thing would lead to another, although I should really know better. It’s like babies know all the buttons of a mother’s anticipation to mess with. When I see Liam do something incredible, and then I try to get him to do it in front of someone else, its like it never happened at all and I instantly become that awkward child at the school talent show whose pet lizard turns out not to be that spectacular after all. Annoying, much? But when I see Liam make certain developments such as standing unassisted, of course, I’m expecting walking is just around the corner. It doesn’t help that he is a Halloween baby and his first party is a costume party and he has theeee CUTEST little costume that would be more effective if he was teetering on those little legs of his. But that’s not the only reason I want to see him walking.
I promise. *bats eyelashes*
There is often a lot of pressure on us mothers to ensure our child is developing within the realm of what would be expected ‘normal’ as they age. For me, Liam’s new developments gives me a sense of pride and joy that I believe only a mother could feel. To have carried him for eight months and delivered him and waited anxiously by his side as he lay in his incubator in NICU only to see him grow into the rumbustious little character he is today and meeting all of his milestones; it really gives me that clap on the back, that high-five that I feel like all mothers want to experience everyday with their child. That inner voice saying, ‘You know, you’re not doing too shabby of a job here’, is welcome every time. And while I’m on the subject, I understand every baby is different. Trust me. I know. I only learnt today that a friend of mine’s daughter started walking already. My first reaction was to ask, “How old is she?!”, only to learn she’s younger than Liam. And my second reaction was a resigned look in Liam’s direction, who was happily gnawing on his toys, oblivious to my disappointment. My third reaction was that of guilt. After spending so much time shutting down those who felt it necessary to comment on Liam’s developments and compare them to their own children or grandchildren in an attempt to try to instill whatever quality in my method of raising him that was preventing him from making such developments, I was here doing the exact same thing.
As I type this now, and I glance over to him sitting on the living room carpet, peacefully watching his nursery rhymes, sweetly sighing in delight, I know that whether or not he’s walking by the age of one or saying four key words, or pointing to specific objects he wants, my baby is perfect just the way he is.
And why wouldn’t he be?