Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Barely breathing

There were many days when Bethany was a newborn that I used to think to myself, "I can't wait until you are older!" In frustration I'd think, "I can't wait until you can just crawl over there and get that yourself" or "It won't be soon enough that you're talking.", or while staring at this little being who somehow managed to poop her diaper and propel it up her stomach, under her arms and packed around her (still) outie belly button, "I can hardly wait for the day you're potty trained!!!". I can remember many a car trip, while she wailed in the back seat, this tiny little being saying to Corey, "I can't wait until she takes a soother. Please! Tell me she'll take a soother." And on one or two occasions, while pacing the floor with my 6 week old baby at 3am thinking, "I just want this stage to be over, time is going so slooow."

Then BAM! Someone hit the light speed button and time, stages and moments started happening so fast they seemed as though they disappeared. I got up one day and that teeny tiny, little orange baby (oh was she jaundice) was replaced with a playing, laughing, dancing baby. I washed my face and that little baby was gone and there was a 1 year old who hardly crawled and then was walking, heading for any and every phone she could find. I made supper and put it on the table only to find that my teeter tottering munchkin is now running full tilt everywhere yelling in 1 word phrases over her shoulder as she goes. I brought Audrey home from the hospital and that speed ball was now a little girl, with only traces of baby left in her face and in her routine, who loves to bake cookies with Mom and thinks Papa is one, pretty cool dude. And then this Sunday happened, all of the changes up until now feel minute and the victory I felt was joined by a new emotion, an unexpected emotion, a sadness I wasn't ready to feel.
My first baby, my "Big Girl 'Tone." really has become a big girl. Sunday seemed to hold monumental things for us. A day that started out with a few clouds, a large list of to-dos and great intentions turned my insides upside down by bedtime.
For a while now, Corey and I have been talking about the day Beth would give up her beloved soother, her soo-soo (said Sue-sue). For a couple of months now she has only had it for bedtime, not nap time, never out in public and it was kept out of reach during the day. We were slowly working it out of her life but I knew the day would come when I had to pull the plug, so to speak. In all this time we had also been talking very seriously about getting her a tricylce. She loves seeing kids on their bikes, she has a bigger bike but hasn't grown into it yet and has quite often asked if she could have one.
While laying in bed snuggling both our girls that morning it dawned on me - I had an idea. Not just any idea, a genius Idea! I looked at my girl and said,
"B, I have an idea (I'm good at stating the obvious like that), you know that you are a big girl right?"

*Nods her head*

"Well, big girls have tricycles right?"
*Her eyes light up and nods her head more vigorously*

"You know what big girls don't have?"


"Soo-soos. If you can get rid of your soo-soo today and not need it any more, because you are a super big girl! Then we can go to the store and get your tricycle!"

What I was expecting was some resistance. I was expecting the hesitation that usually came when we talked of the day her soo would be gone, I was expecting a "Not now" or a "No Mommy" (I'm pretty sure she's trying to coin it as her catch phrase). What I wasn't expecting was to see my little/big girl hop down off the bed, walk into her room with her Daddy on her heals, lift the garbage pail lid and fire the soo-soo. Then come pealing back into my room and say, "My soo-soos in the garbage, NOW can I get my tricycle" "PLEASE!"

That was it, she tossed it and then asked every 15 minutes if we were getting her tricycle NOW? In between there she asked "Where are we going now Mommy?" (Her other new catch phrase). We heard those two things a lot as we drove the hour to Langley.

Now not only were we soother ridding and tricycle shopping we are also still mid potty training. I had picked up the supplies for the world biggest incentive, progress potty chart on Saturday and we had it ready Sunday morning. She's been peeing on the potty rather regular but this with it's many sticker choices and the idea of a reward after the accumulation of lots and lots of stickers was proving very successful. Although the poop had not yet happened.
We get home from our day with a tricycle, a helmet, a toy for Audrey (because I couldn't leave her out, she's got a tooth now ya know.) and a new baby for Beth. I figured the new baby would help at bedtime when inevitably she was sad over not having her soother.
Because it was raining, she and daddy built her bike in the shop and then we let her attempt to ride it in the house. Peddling is still a little hard but she's getting it. Watching my helmet clad little girl atop a big girl tricycle I felt the begins of a tug. I was so excited for her but there was something else there too, what was it?

After her dinner we headed for yet another trip to the potty. While reading a story to me and I reading a story to Audrey she announces "I Pooped!" And sure enough she did. Whoot! Big Accomplishment! We called to tell Grammy, gave her the special poop on the potty sticker and celebrated the awesome thing she'd just learned.

Then came bedtime, we read our story, said our prayers and then the little tiny voice came, that comes every night "Please my soo-soo now?" And I had to say "No, it's gone big girl! Remember you're a super big girl now who rides a trike and doesn't need her soother." She cried a second and then I handed her Baby Grace and Sarah and she started to settle. Except she dropped Sarah, "No Sarah Mommy, I want BAYbye Grace (not a typo that's how she says it)"

There it was again ,that strange feeling but this time it was accompanied by yet another, Panic. WHAT?! NO!!!! You can't bail on Sarah! She's your best friend! You need her, we go everywhere with her! What's next, you'll be too grown up for me?!

As I did my best to keep my voice soothing and sing, You are my Sunshine on repeat because she'll have no other song, I had to fight the tears. I was ok with her getting rid of her soother, I was thrilled that she pooped on the potty, I was happy that she had a tricycle but I was not ready for Sarah to disappear. Sarah, means too much. To Bethany and to me. (Also visions of the Velvetine Rabbit flashed in my head...not only did I have Mommy guilt over the soother the stuff toy guilt was coming in over Sarah)

When all of a sudden she lifts her little head and says, "I no want Grace Mom, I need my Sarah!"

Ok then, we're good.

I rocked her to sleep. Something I haven't needed to do in ages, but felt necessary because she was still a little out of sorts with out her soother. Which really she's had for 2 plus years every night. Put her in bed, kissed her soft hair and left.

I stood in the hall, between my girls rooms looking in Audrey's room as Corey, rocked my tiny( but actually 27" 17lb 9oz) baby to sleep and in Bethy's room, seeing my big girl, without her soo-soo, away in dreamland, and it hit me. Square between the boobs (because it's an easy target and also because that's where my heart resides) a sadness that made my knees shake.

My first baby is gone. She's been replaces with a stupendous and incredible little being but still the baby, isn't there anymore.

Bethany will always be my baby girl, my buddy. And I am thrilled to no end that she's growing into the quirky and wonderful little person she is. With a kind heart, a love for all things musical and smile that makes my heart melt. I'm happy for her that these milestones are happening, they are natural, necessary and awesome.

But for me? I'm sad. I don't want time to go so fast. I don't want to let those things go. I don't want to face the fact that as fast as things went and are going with B they seem to be that much faster and gone that much sooner with Audrey. She's going to be 6 months old for pete sake! Can anyone tell me who's responsible for the misplacement of months 1-4 because I hardly feel as if they happened.

And it's left me happily sad. I love these girls so very much and I love being the Mommy so very much that the reality that one day I won't be Mommy any more just Mom makes me sad. One day they'll be too cool to call me that, or they won't need me to rock them to sleep and as happy as I thought I'd be about all of those things, I'm not. I know those days are far away, and I know that I have so much time before then to love them, teach them, play with them, but I'm afraid.

I'm afraid that, that time will go faster than the past. I'm afraid that life will get so busy that I don't have time to enjoy their small things anymore. I'm afraid that I'll look back one day and wish I'd taken more time and stopped to enjoy my "flowers". But mostly I'm afraid of that day, in the far away but not really so far future, when my house is empty, my babies are grown and I have to say goodbye. I have said before I wasn't prepared to feel like my Mom said she did or to love them as much as I do. But of all the things that I didn't know about becoming a Mommy, I didn't know that my children would become my world. I didn't know that their every minute would be like a good book I never want to end, with a plot I don't want to change.

And I certainly didn't know, that my love for them would some days leave me, just barely breathing.

ps. we don't live in a bribe your kids household but I do firmly believe in rewarding excellent progress and good behaviour


Anonymous said...

Ok, tears here. I should stop reading your blog! haha just kidding. Not kidding about the tears.
Ashley those same feels well over me when I watch you and Dustin even as adults. There are times I see you and Dustin as wee little ones in the eyes of your children. The glint, the smile, the tears and the excitement all take me back to the days my little ones were on my knee. Now look at you both. And you my dear as a mother is something that makes me swell up in side over. And the tears I shed when you gave up your soother (unwillingly because the dog chewed it, boy you were mad!). The tears of a mom are now replaced with the tears of a grandmother's heart. when you told me that Beth was giving up her soother, well I cried. So see Honey...those feelings are ones you are going to carry with you all your days and one day will have the glorious privledge of shedding tears and heart wrenches as a grandmother. :)

Love yas
Mom / Grammy

The Smith's said...

I really really enjoy reading your blog. You are a beautiful writer and thank you for sharing so much of your life with a random stranger who would love to be a mother some day but feels un-ready to go into that realm. But thank you for sharing your ups and downs and your beautiful stories of your experiences.

Melissa said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks Ashley. I'm so busy grumbling and complaining about how hard life is right now that I'm not relishing in and cherishing these moments. Your words have brought me back the reality and make want to change my attitude. Thank you.

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

This is a beautiful post. I am crying now. I have a son, but as I see him grow I feel like this too. Oh man. I have to go hug him, draw his bath, hug him again, dry him off, hug him and hug him and hug him and .... well, you know.