A Mother’s Denial.

I have spent so much of my life wanting time to move faster.

I’m a doer. A planner. I get the metaphorical ball rolling. I mobilize.

And yes, it’s exhausting. But that is who I am and who I always have been. I lie awake in bed at night planning the next day. I spend almost my entire day on my feet, doing things. I can’t help it. It’s in my DNA.

But now my last child has outgrown her crib, and I CANNOT MOVE PAST IT. I have planned for this moment at length, watching three teething babies gnaw on the wooden rails, telling myself that one day it will be time to convert it into a full-size bed and close the Crib Chapter of our lives. And now that time has come … and I just can’t move forward.

I’m stuck.

I’m sad.

I cry a lot.

It’s weird.

I’ve been dragging my feet for weeks, saying things like “I still need to find bedding,” or, “We’ll do it this weekend.”

Excuses.

The fact of the matter is, I don’t want my last baby to sleep in a big girl bed. I stare at her very-long-for-her-age body folded inside of her crib and I tell myself that she likes it, because it’s a lot like sleeping in a womb. I tell myself that she’s only 2 1/2 and children that small are too little to be in full-sized sleigh beds, even though both of her brothers were sleeping in big beds by the time they were her age.

But she’s different. Because she’s my last.

When she crawls into her brother’s bed, snuggles under the covers, and announces “I WANT A BIG GIRL BED!” I pretend not to hear it. I don’t want to face it. And that’s a weird feeling for someone who hurtles through her life like a neurotic wildebeest.

No matter how much I try to treat all of my children the same, I’m always going to be a little slower to accept the newest stage of my youngest.

Fortunately for us all, she is not the type to be slowed by anyone.

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The Baby Is Not A Baby Anymore.

“The baby,” who isn’t actually a baby anymore and I guess I need to stop calling her that, crawled at 10 months.

Exactly 7 months later, she started walking. It also turns out that she’s quite the climber.

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I am so relieved to have use of my arms again. So, so relieved. Picking her up and hauling her all over the place — because when you’re trying to walk into a store with an unpredictable three-year-old, you have to have the other one either strapped in a cart or on your hip — has given me unprecedented upper-body strength. I can do man push-ups. Okay, only like three. But STILL.

And while I am so excited to finally close the door on all things baby in this house, I admit that I’m also so sad about it. My last child has truly turned into a toddler overnight who drunkenly wanders the house saying “Bye-bye! Cracker?”

She sings, she laughs, and she is a complete and utter joy. Except when she’s trying to eat Cascade gel packs, or when she watches me lace up my shoes and unties one while I tie the other one, and then when I re-tie that one she unties the other one. I mean, it’s cute now that it’s over and I’m telling you about it, but when I’m in a hurry and I can’t get my damn shoes tied and Asher is standing by the door screaming “I DON’T WANT MY CLOTHESES TO TOUCH ME!” it’s not cute.

At all.

I’ll never have another baby-turned-toddler again. This is it, and I’m glad … but also there is a part of me that wishes I could make it stop. Just for a moment.

I’ll never again have the joy of seeing one of my children take their first steps. Now there will be new firsts, each one taking them farther away from babyhood. And to be honest, I’m relieved because this has been incredibly hard. But also, I need to have a good cry about it.

This is the beginning of goodbyes, and everything about it is bittersweet.

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