Sunday, February 16, 2014

Still My Baby

I find myself referring to my 17 month old as a baby quite frequently. But it has gotten me wondering: what IS the true definition of a baby? I know they stop being infants when they turn 12 months. And my child certainly qualifies as a toddler. But when do they officially stop being a baby? And when does a toddler become a preschooler? 

When I walk into her room first thing in the morning, she looks up at me over the edge of her crib with a huge grin. She puts her hands up as high as they can go, reaching for me. That's when I know; she's still my baby. 

I watch her scoop her food out of the bowl. While she's feeding herself quite well, most of the food still lands on her face, her bib or the floor. That's when I know; she's still my baby. 

When I get up to go to the bathroom or switch a load of laundry, she calls out for me. She puts her hand out and says, "bup" to be picked up. She insists on coming along with me. That's when I know; she's still my baby. 

In the middle of the night when something wakes her up she calls, "mommy, mommy, mommy." When I go in her room to check on her she points to the glider, asking me to rock her. When I ask if she wants to snuggle, she buries her head in my chest. That's when I know; she's still my baby. 

And right before bed she asks for "mil! mil!" She falls asleep rather quickly and sometimes, when I'm lucky, she will smile in her sleepy nursing state. When she's done nursing, she will rest on me for a few moments and on especially lucky nights I will get to hear a small giggle in her sleep. That's when I know; she's still my baby. 

There are some days when I really start thinking that she's getting so big. Like today when she uttered two brand new words. And she was getting the different shaped blocks in the right slots in the box all by herself. And she drank hot chocolate right out of a cup without a sippy top. 

We took a picture of her chocolate-covered face and she asked to see the screen view on the camera. She pointed to it and said, "baby." And she's right; she's still my baby. 

No matter what the technical definition is, I actually still have two babies. One that has turned into a 3 year old preschooler and another that is nearly a year and a half old. Even when they're both school age and riding the bus together. Even when they're both teenagers who spend more time with their friends than their parents. And even when they're having their own babies. They will always and forever be my babies. 

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