Feed on

Last Things

In her New York Times blog, Lisa Belkin posted a thoughtful piece called “Moments When Children Grow Up” this week. The gist was that while most of us try to pay attention to our children’s firsts—first steps, first words, and the like—last things can tell us just as much about our kids and often go by without our noticing.  As it happens, the very day I read this post I went to put away napkins from the wash, pushed a stack of bibs to the far front of a drawer to make room for them, and suddenly realized that Simon doesn’t use bibs anymore.  What’s more, I can’t remember when he quit using them.

He doesn’t use his high chair any more either; I dragged that to our attic a few months ago. Just a few weeks later, his dining room booster seat was consigned to the attic; at 41” tall, he can sit in a chair and do just fine. Nor does he read many of the books that still occupy his shelves or play with the toys stored in our attic and stuffed at the top of his closet. Nearly everywhere I look, I find the remains of his younger self: the old changing pad, his old crib bumper set, the Bumbo seat, the Jumperoo and Exersaucer, even the little red wagon sitting on our porch is a relic of a different era.

In the current era, I live with a little fellow that tried to pump his own tricycle tires two days ago, recognizes and can name most of the streets we travel on, knows his address, and can tell left from right. He’s extremely sensitive about being laughed at and is equally adamant that while he has last year’s teachers at camp this summer, he is, under no circumstances, to be considered an Itsy Bitsy again.

I do remember a few key lasts. I can recall when Simon last nursed, slept in his Moses basket, and used a pacifier. I’m a little vaguer about other things, like when he quit being rocked to sleep or used his swing. I can live with that. But readers of Lisa’s blog chimed in with some lasts that were harder to swallow, discussing the last time their kids were carried, the last time they would hug Mom or Dad in public, or even the last time they would hug Mom and Dad at all.

Frankly, Simon is getting big enough that I suspect carrying days may be winding down. It’s those last two words, the hugging at all, that strike fear in my heart. Right now I can contain my tendency towards premature nostalgia by comforting myself that while Simon may not be rocked to sleep any more, that he does enjoy snuggling and tells me that he loves me all the time. We’ve still got lots of physical and verbal affection, only now it’s reciprocal and more mature. And while he’s stopped doing many adorable toddler things, he still does some of them (sleeping with cars in his hands) and has added some pretty adorable little boy things (the aforementioned bicycle tire pumping).

In other words, I’m running even, if not slightly ahead, when it comes to net parenting gain. I just can’t help but wonder when things become a net loss. In the meantime, it’s time to disperse all this baby and toddler goodness to the several new babies I know before my attic turns into a kind of disturbing shrine.

2 Responses to “Last Things”

  1. bethnbobinnc says:

    You almost made me cry! Just last night I watched Drew canoeing with his friend, Cedric at “Family Fun Night” at his Y camp. I commented to Bob, “He doesn’t need us anymore. He’s steering his own canoe…” But this morning he still wanted me to walk him in to the cubby room and he blew a kiss and waved as I drove out of the camp parking lot. I’ll be so sad when he’s too embarassed to blow that kiss!!

  2. Jessica says:

    Take heart, Beth. Two summers ago, my warm-up and wind-down patter with prospective authors at Black Hat Briefings was about kids. The vast majority of the ones I talked to told me there kids–even those between 12 and 17–were still super affectionate if they (the parents) were. Maybe not in public, but at home. It’s something, right?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.