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Saying Goodbye to the Baby Years

saying goodbye to the baby years

Not so long ago, I was chatting with a friend of mine (who lives in England) about how much we miss hanging out together. She’s currently expecting her second child and joked that as soon as the cycle of feeding and naps were behind her she’d hop on the next flight to Atlanta for a visit. Out of nowhere I felt a pang of sadness. Not only because I miss my friend, but because it dawned on me that it IS more or less behind me… which means that I’m finally saying goodbye to the baby years.

In the weeks that followed that conversation, it’s as if our youngest (who turned two at the end of last year) had somehow caught on to the idea. She suddenly insists on doing everything that a “big girl” does, despite her pint sized stature.

At meal times she now shuns the high chair in favor of perching atop a wobbly stack of three chair cushions (and can still barely reach the table). She desperately wants to dress herself (agonizing to watch!). She raids the panty for her own snacks (we’ve been forced to hide the Goldfish crackers, fruit bunnies and Cheerios on the top shelf).

So here we are. And facing the final chapter of this season of motherhood has been a little more emotional than I expected.

Saying goodbye to the baby years

The rational part of me has been fine with the idea of no more babies for quite a while. I’ve been lucky enough to experience the baby years twice now, and enjoyed all of the precious moments that accompanied them. We’ve celebrated the milestones and delighted in watching our children grow.

I’m happy that our littlest is finding her independence (apparently she has a lot and a strong will to boot!!). She’s becoming her own person which is a truly wonderful thing.

And I’m of course looking forward to the freedoms that will be afforded by the next stage. For example, making plans that don’t revolve around the nap/feeding schedule. Seeing our girls play together properly and actually entertain EACH OTHER! And of course finally saying goodbye to the diapers.

BUT…

It’s still a struggle for me to accept that our baby is no longer a baby.

I’ve talked many times on this blog about the bittersweet nature of being a parent. While I get so much enjoyment watching my girls grow and flourish and move onto the next phase, I also feel terribly nostalgic for those that are behind us.

There’s a relief that some of the hard work is over mixed with the heartache of saying goodbye to those precious baby moments.

The last trappings of the baby years linger about the house. Dozens of little plastic spoons and sippy cups. The infant toys. Not to mention the teeny tiny onesies. And even though I’m a minimalist at heart, I can’t quite bring myself to let them all go.

As bloggers, we’re always told to provide our readers with something of value – give some great advice or share some life hacks. But I’m afraid this time I’ve got nothing for you…

Except for the fact that you might just be able to relate to the feeling. And it’s comforting to know that someone else out there is feeling something akin to what you’re feeling.

I know in my heart of hearts that I’m ready to say goodbye to the baby years. I really do cherish those sweet memories but I’m also plain tired! Babies are exhausting and I’m really looking forward to getting some more sleep 🙂

So hello kid years… I’m excited for what you’ve got in store.

How about you? Was saying goodbye to the baby years difficult for you? Or were you happy to move on? I’d love to hear your own experiences.

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