Take a look at this picture. Can you see it? My Baby girl is gone.
That is 100% “little girl.” I’m not sure of precisely when it happened. It was gradual, which is probably why I didn’t notice. But she’s just… gone. The chubby, rolly-polly, needy, little baby I could cradle in one arm has dissolved and morphed into this beautiful child who can walk and talk and eat all on her own. She is an independent girl. Smart and charismatic, she can tell me what she wants and what she is thinking.
I called her “the baby” the other day, and it felt wrong for the first time, ever. The “Little One” or “The Princess” still fit, but baby just isn’t true anymore. It is an odd feeling, as a Mom, to come to that realization. It isn’t a bad thing by any means. It is just the next phase. And the truth is that I’m enjoying this stage to the fullest extent. Abby can walk! And wants to. It’s a choice she makes. She comes when she is called, follows people around (especially her cousins), and stands up after a tumble like nothing happened.
But that doesn’t change that there is this sadness inside me. I am sad that she is no longer this helpless blob that needs me for every little thing. Yes, she needs me still. Heck, I’m almost 30 and I totally still NEED my own Mommy. But she doesn’t need me to figure it all out for her anymore. It used to be that I had to play that “What is it” game, where I had to guess what she was trying to tell me. Now, she just tells me. Outright. She points, and uses what words she does have to make it more than apparent about what she wants and needs from me. And when she communicates well and we understand each other, she gets this huge grin on her face, and she claps! It is so cute. And that sadness sort of melts away because of how cool it all is.
Everyone who sees her is amazed at what she is doing these days. She says a word here or there that is abundantly clear and everyone goes, “Whoa! She just said ____!” And seeing her adorable little walk for the first time brings huge smiles to everyone’s face. She is in the stage where she has firm footing and good balance, but her legs and hips haven’t straightened out just yet, so her walk looks like she just dismounted a horse. It’s so cute. And wobbly! And she has no spacial awareness yet. She bumps into walls, and trips on pretty much ANYTHING that is in her path. But it doesn’t phase her one bit. She just keeps going. And going. And going.
I have NO IDEA how many times I have walked through my house in the last two weeks. But it is in the hundreds without even breaking a sweat. We go from play room to entry way to living room to dining room to kitchen and back around to play room again. Over and over. Sometimes we break it up and go in the opposite direction – but still, one big circle. And occasionally we stop the repetitive loop to do the Hot Dog Dance when Mickey Mouse and the Clubhouse gang are on the TV. She points to the TV and screams, ‘Yay!!!!” and claps her hands. She even dances! It is more of a bobbing up and down with some crazy arm waving thrown in, but to her, that is totally busting a move. Just another sign that Abby has moved on to Toddler-dom. Is that even a word?
She is also starting to realize who people are to her. If you ask her where “Mommy” or “Daddy” are, she can point to us, or look at us. When you ask her, “Who is that?” to any of our immediate family members she gets it right more than half of the time. Names are becoming clearer with each passing day. Poppi is no longer “FiFi.” It is now “Pa.” Nana and Teta are very clear. I am most often Mama, but the occasional ‘Mommy” or “MiMi” peek through. At least it is clear that she is talking to me! 😉 And my FAVORITE thing she says is “Yup!” She cant’ say Yes. But I love that she doesn’t say “Yea.” She answers almost all questions with a resounding “Yup!” Too cute.
*SIGH* The baby is gone. The Toddler is here. Bittersweet, but oh-so-fun!