What is it with the baby of the family? Why do we (or maybe just me) treat him like a baby even when he is clearly not anymore? I am so done with having children. I have had my fair share, and seeing babies no longer elicits any sort of pull from my uterus, but I am having a hard time letting the youngest grow up. I basically kicked all my other children out the door the moment they entered preschool age. By two no more being held constantly and once you could walk any real distance the stroller was put away. Not saying that I forced it. I mean I am a baby wearer and a constant holder of babies (when they are babies), but I had too many kids to keep it up past 2 years old. You’ve gotta get dressed, wipe your own butt, and help take care of you otherwise it might not happen. This last kid is different though. I put his clothes on him still and he is 4. I still call him a baby. I will grab him sporadically throughout the day and tell him he needs to sit on my lap or cuddle. I tell the other kids to stop picking on him even though this child is a devil at times. I lay down with him at nap time and bed time. He still sleeps in my bed.
I still do my fair share of ignoring him. Don’t worry the tv is still a second parent to him. He plays blocks and cars and bad guys alone in the play room. I find myself saying not now or I am too busy or later just like I do with the other children. I actually play less with him than I did with my oldest. However, it is hard to stop thinking of him as a baby.
While he is here I have a purpose. I am a stay at home mom with a kid at home. When he leaves, what then? Do I suddenly go out and find a job just because my kid is at school? Do I stop prioritizing my kids and start prioritizing me? The older kids need me just as much, and the afternoons and evenings are crazy here, so maybe I stay at home to rest up for the evening shift of parenting. I run the errands and do the chores during the day so I can be chaperone and chauffeur during the night. I don’t know. I keep putting off thinking about it. Just like I am putting off signing my baby up for preschool. I have had it on my to-do list for two months. Ever since registration opened up. I have all the papers for it in my purse ready to go. I just haven’t. I have lots of excuses. We had to go to the store and then it was nap time. It was raining too hard to get out. It was nice outside and it hasn’t been nice in months so we stayed home. I have to do it. He can’t hang out with just me, the tv, and himself next year. He needs to break away and find his own legs in the world. Even if it is just the world of preschool. It is just, well, he is my baby.
Once he is gone, everyone is gone, and it starts a different chapter in my parenting world. It is sad and lonely and scary. I have been a mom with a kid or kids at home since 2007. That is a long time. Almost my whole adult life has been about babies-being pregnant, nursing, and then repeat. I was a pro. Now, I am about to see what days are like with no one here. Just me. What if I don’t like me? Maybe my crazy dog will become my baby? Do you think 80 lb. dogs like being pushed around in a stroller? I would definitely get some strong arm muscles trying to carry him around all day.
It is hard to let go of different parts of motherhood. You spend so much time and energy cultivating certain aspects of motherhood that when it is time to open your arms and let go, sometimes you just can’t, at least not all the way. So we nag about the coat, pry into the friendships, and get on your case about the homework. Maybe we even cut your meat when you can do it yourself just because we need to be needed. I will sign my baby up for preschool, maybe not today because it is raining, but I will.