As a mother of an only child, I am very aware that many of my son’s stages in life are not only precious, but the only time I will get to experience them.
As my son gets older, I do try to take a moment and reflect on the fact that many of his “firsts” will also be our families “lasts” time at the same time as well.
It’s not something that really makes me sad. Is that weird? I hear lots of mom’s talk about how they cried when this or that happened, and I start thinking oh, was I supposed to be sad?
I appreciate each moment, and sometimes it makes me feel a bit melancholy to think about putting away my son’s tiny clothes or toys, but it really makes me happy to see when he’s hit a new milestone. It all also makes me realize I need to slow down a bit more and stop pushing him forward so quickly through life.
What’s rush? I feel like as I moved through each stage of his infant life, it was a race to get to the next milestone. Great, he was starting to eat baby food – once that official milestone was hit it was time to move to solids right away. Once solids were mastered it was time to teach him how to hold his spoon immediately.
Stages like those were more tied to development, so I suppose moving him forward very quickly wasn’t a bad thing. It really got me to thinking about the things that I really shouldn’t have rushed, and instead enjoyed more.
A silly one was his clothing! Why was I in such a rush to dress my little infant like a little man? Ok, I know why, babies look really cute dressed up in “grown-up” clothing. I sort of rushed him out of the onesie phase, and I regret moving him into those cute little jeans and pants so quickly. No more onesies for him now, and I sort of wish I didn’t rush him out of that cute and comfy stage since we can’t turn back.
Now that my son is older the milestones seem a little less rigid, but still I find myself in a way defending his progress in areas like potty training, speaking, dressing himself, and sleeping habits. At what age are these things no longer a major talking point or a thing I need to keep buying books on so we can just go ahead and live our lives? I am really asking because I have absolutely no idea, but I look forward to that day!
Sometimes it all feels like a competition on who’s child makes it faster to the next milestone. I really love those mom’s who are much more easygoing about the whole thing and throw up their hands and say their kids just aren’t ready! It much more fun to have a conversation with that mom rather than the one who spends the whole conversation talking about how quickly their child learned to do everything under the sun before yours did.
I spent a lot of my son’s early-life pushing him forward. This wasn’t because I was trying to be tough on him – I just wanted his development to match all of the charts and figures that a “normal” child development should progress. I realize now, when he’s 18 does it really matter if he learned how to use a fork a couple months later than his peers? Is it really going to matter if he was potty trained at age 2 or 3? Some people would say yes, this matters, but honestly along the way I have learned that pushing him forward may not be what is best for him.
What so fun about growing up fast anyway? Do I really want him to get to the age when he’s embarrassed to hug me in front of his friends, or when it’s not cool to have a milk mustache that we laugh about on Saturday mornings? Once he is grown up I am sure I would give anything to get back to these days of fun, so I’m sorry but we are just going to enjoy his exact age for a while.