The second time around is so, so different.
It goes by so much faster. The pregnancy, the labor, the maternity leave, the newborn clothes – you snap your fingers and it’s all over. One day you’re in bed, trying to get your 3 day old to latch on and ‘just eat already’ and the next your three year old is crawling into bed with you at 545am and asking if he can watch Jake and have some cereal.
At three years old the Mouse was tall enough to unlock the back door and let the pug outside – the Froggy can barely reach the door handle, let alone the lock. At three years old the Mouse was still in diapers, and fighting every. single. trip. to the potty – the Froggy has been completely trained for at least 5 months. At three years old the Mouse was so grown up in my eyes, a ‘big kid’ – all I see when I look at the Froggy is my baby.
And I know you’re not supposed to do that. As a parent, you’re not supposed to label one ‘big’ or ‘smart’ or ‘cute’ – but lets be honest with each other, we all do. The Froggy is my baby, and he always will be.
And here’s another ‘mommy fail’ … I don’t have many super vivid memories of snuggling with the Mouse as an infant. I know it happened, I know I rocked him, and that I fed him, and that he was my baby at one point too – but I don’t have that sharp mental picture I feel like I should. But I do with the Froggy. I remember very clearly laying with him in bed and thinking, ‘he is my last, I need to remember this moment’. I remember rocking him to sleep, and I remember when at four months old he decided he didn’t want to be held for his nightly bottle. He would grab ahold of the bottle, arch his back, stretch out his arms, and wriggle free.
And it broke my heart.
But now at three years old, I see that self confidence and independence his brother didn’t have until much later. He’ll follow the ‘big kids’ anywhere, and turn back to look at me, daring me to come tell him he can’t play on the big jungle gym at the park. I think he knows how badly I want to hold on to every moment of his smallness – and so makes every effort to remind me that he will march to his own drum, whatever I do.
So happy birthday, little man. Grow, and learn, and laugh – but remember, no matter how much you hate it, you’re always going to be my baby.