There are so many things I miss about the baby stage. Hence why I'm probably ready to have another one, though that might just mean that I've blocked out all of the horrible, difficult parts of that stage instead, leaving only the rose-colored-glasses version of life with Jacob as a baby. I know for a fact that there was so much hard stuff to go through, but there's something special about a child that does not talk back or run off or say "no" to everything you ask of them. And from this perspective of a parent that's now seen what that tiny baby can become, it's exciting to think about watching that amazing transformation all over again. However, there are some days when I wonder if it will ever happen.
So, in an effort to embrace my current circumstances, I decided to write out a list of great stuff about babies...and why big kids are just as awesome.
1) I miss the tiny baby cuddles when Jacob would sleep on my chest...BUT...I love how easily he can put himself to sleep most of the time, alone in his room. And I most certainly appreciate the fact that he sleeps through the night. Nothing's like new baby snuggles, but I sneak my cuddles other ways and appreciate being well-rested in the meantime.
2) I miss how Jacob would give me the biggest smile ever at the mere sight of my face. It was the best form of communication he could offer, and it was awesome...BUT...now I get hugs and kisses (once in a while, at least), and on a very rare occasion I'll even get an "I love you" out of him. That's pretty awesome, too.
3) I miss being able to pick out anything for Jacob to wear, and having him wear it without complaint...BUT...once we get past his pickiness, the fact that he can dress himself most of the time is a pretty big bonus. And a huge time saver, at least when he actually does it without extra prodding.
4) I miss the chubby little legs, soft little head of hair, and gummy smile...BUT...his belly is still just as cute as it used to be (and his little butt cuter--nothing more adorable than watching it run down the hall from the bathroom to his bedroom after bathtime!) and he's such a handsome little boy overall. It's also amazing to look at those gangly legs and big feet and know that we helped grow this big boy. His smile now is still such a joy, though I swoon at the sight of pictures from the various stages of teeth growth because I loved each version!
5) I miss the sweet little baby sounds and the excitement of hearing him finally say his first words...BUT...admittedly, it's cool to have conversations with your child, know what they're thinking, get their take on the world, or have a little insight into what they want or what's bothering them when they're sick. God knows I would have given almost anything for many of those opportunities early on!
6) I miss the simplicity of baby toys. We had a couple key pieces (jumperoo, swing, tummy time mat) and then a handful of stuffed animals, rattles, or other things for stimulation. Now we have a living room overtaken by tiny pieces of action figures, only half of whose names I actually know...BUT...I love listening to Jacob's imagination go to work. The other morning he was planning a birthday party for one of his stuffed animals, and lately he's been using a tiny baseball from a set of Peanuts figures as a soccer ball for Craig's old G.I. Joe guys...with MegaBlok-built goals, too! I allow the mess most of the time because I know it's creative genius at work.
7) I miss that stage where Jacob was aware and happy and playful, but couldn't get around yet. Leaving him on the living room floor playing with hanging toys on his play mat, or even popping him in the playpen while I ran to do something quickly, was so nice...BUT...inevitably I suppose he lost interest quickly enough and then he was generally pretty needy. Now he's needy in a different way (as my ears will attest), but I can fairly confidently leave him alone to play now without assuming he'll get into trouble. Maybe I'll find out that's risky, but he's been really good until now. And he can play alone for extended periods most of the time, which is pretty stinkin' great.
9) I miss the sweet, quiet bonding of breastfeeding...BUT...I don't miss it that much. I don't miss being chained to the couch, being up at night, pumping, engorgement, or having to carefully watch my diet. Watching the pleased satisfaction on his face while he ate was awesome, but I also like the joy on his face when he gets a food he loves now, and I can do that minus all of the dedication that went along with breastfeeding. I'd do it all again, though.
10) I miss the anticipation of so many milestones--rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking, talking--and the major celebration that accompanied each one...BUT...if you look hard enough there are plenty of things to celebrate at this stage as well. Potty training, writing, and drawing are notable, and there's always the transition to a big boy bed or a new classroom. There are tons of little moments as well, like when your child says something interesting, achieves a physical milestone in sports or another activity, or learns a new fact. They're more subtle milestones, but they're there if you look hard enough. And while the early ones are special, the later ones are cool simply because they're such visible building blocks of the person your child is going to become. It's amazing to see the pieces come together, and while the baby stage is so fleeting and precious, the kid stage is one heck of a ride. Amidst the craziness, I'm trying to enjoy every minute.