Zoe Scarlett, 14 Months.
This girl is breaking my heart. Squeezing it into a pulpy, sticky mess -- just like that orange slice. /lame melodramatic comparison.
I’ve noticed it’s fairly common of parents -- mothers in particular -- to sniffle about their children getting older. While I’ve commiserated, I lacked the facility to grant them justice in my thoughts -- “let the kid grow up – what did you expect? Unfortunately this isn't The Simpsons” was usually the overriding sentiment in my mind. But right now, I feel as though I have a new viewpoint, a novel understanding of the bittersweet inevitable growth. An understanding that could only come through experience.
I’m losing my baby.
To begin, this week has been unreasonable. Why must things suck all at once? School finals, tumultuous emotions over family stuff, drama at work, BJ’s work schedule hours continue to be harshly hacked which equals my debit card declining while buying groceries (the shopping cart was full. I was mortified), broad-spectrum stress over what the hell I’m doing with my life with possible girly hormones and dreary weather peppered in. My stomach has knotted itself into something I'd doubt a boyscout could even figure out. I’ve been feeling BAD, and feeling bad can be so much worse than feeling sad. Crying is productive – it provides an outlet. Feeling discontent, confused, scared – BAD, does not. I've been pushed out of my comfort zone. So perhaps it has just magnified my emotions about Zoe.
Let me assure you that I am overjoyed when Zoe picks up on something new about the world.
- In Target last week, she rubbed her hands together as I hurriedly pushed her in the shopping cart past the hand soap isle.
- She pulls her diaper wipes out of their container and rubs them across the table surfaces the way I do when I’m cleaning.
- Ask her to say cat, she says cat. Doggy, doggy.
- Tell her not to put the crayons in her mouth, she’ll comply.
How do you prepare to have your daughter’s all-encompassing expansion intervene in the sacred mommy and baby dynamic? As exciting as it is, devastation slices me every time she pushes herself out of my arms, wiggles in discomfort as I rock her to sleep in my arms because she’s just getting too big to wedge in there like she used to, refuse to eat anything she can’t feed to herself, infinite etcetera.
It’s somewhat alienating. It's hard letting go, and it will be harder I’m sure. I’m reminded of an experience when Zoe was about four months old: Two women pushed a baby in a stroller past my house on a summer evening while Zoe and I snuggled on the porch steps indulging the pretty evening. We briefly greeted each other and swapped baby stats and I said, “She’s already getting so big, I can’t believe it!” and one mother sighed and said, “I have five kids. Just you wait. Your heart is about to get broken. You don't even know, grrrl” That ominous warning has manifested itself!
Of course I never want to stifle her and I love watching her grow. I guess I suddenly understand why my mom used to insist on cutting my meat until I was a teenager (when I stopped eating it). Change, growth in every capacity of life is truly miraculous, but this post is about it also being painful.