My teeny baby, the amazing little person who made me a mama, the most perfect son for me in the whole world, turned 3-yrs-old this week.
I have been trying for days to sit down and reflect on this birthday...trying to blog something about it for my own sake, and for the sake of any readers out there! But two things have stood in my way: #1. Things have been CRAZY lately. Both kids have had colds, my wonderful in-laws were in for a visit to celebrate the big day, and several other things have kept me away from any free computer time. And #2. I just haven't known where to start, what to say, how to begin. So tonight I found myself with a few free minutes, and I thought I would just start tying and see what I come up with. Though I don't have much time tonight, so I may have to reflect more later.
A couple of thoughts:
-It really, truly seems like it was just a few months ago that I found out I was pregnant with him, and that he was born. My entire life up until the positive pregnancy test with him seemed kind of slow. But from the day that I discovered (unexpectedly) that I was pregnant with him, straight on through until today, time has FLOWN by.
-I can still remember, strikingly clearly, the first few moments of realizing I was pregnant. Sheer joy and sheer terror at the same time. And, even then, I had some sense of "him"...this little person who would be joining my life...who would be mine to raise for a little while...and then would be his own person some day. *And, yes, I did know he would be a boy, on some level. I knew with Molly too, that she would be a girl. Can't explain it, but it's true!
-I, of course, still remember the moments of his birth. So proud of myself for having the natural birth that I had worked so hard to prepare for, so exhausted and exhilarated at the same time, so COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY that there was an actual baby in my arms that I was the mother of...fully responsible for, despite the fact that I had no idea what to do with him!!!
-I remember spending the first few (very rough) months falling deeply in love with him, while at the same time, despairing that I couldn't seem to meet so many of his needs. *For those who don't know, he was a very colicky baby, until a trip to the chiropractor at 4 mos old changed it all for the better for us.
-I remember finding so much delight in both him and in myself that, as a team, the 2 of us were actually a mother/baby unit...learning together, figuring it all out together, making both mistakes and delightful discoveries together.
-I LOVED so much of his journey into becoming a toddler. I have worked with toddlers for years in my job as a speech-therapist, and I felt really prepared to mother him as he left his infancy behind and started walking, talking, growing, learning.
-Discovering his intelligence, his ability to pick things up so quickly, his ability to love others, his delight in the parts of the world that are particularly delightful to him, his demeanor, his joy at accomplishing something, his imagination, his trust in me...so many things that have been wonderful over the past 3 years.
-And lately, really watching him stop being a "toddler" and become a "child". It's funny, as much as I was so ready to have him become a toddler, I am just as much nervous and not ready for him to be a little boy. I think a big part of it is the change in my role as a mother. When you have an 18-month-old, your main goals are pretty simple: give them unconditional love, consistency and security, and have fun showing them the world! But with a 3-yr-old, there are so many "big" questions that I have to start seeking answers to: preschool...where, what type, does it matter either way? Where will he some day go to school? Or should I home school him? How is his emotional development doing? Have I helped him have the confidence that he will need when he starts going to preschool? Have I prepared him enough? Should I "teach" him things like numbers, puzzles, and such, or should I continue to just let him discover the world around him based on what he likes (pretty much still trains and cars and trucks)? What will his friends be like? How do I steer him well?
Anyway, I still feel like I will do a good enough job with him, it's just that my anxieties about his development are changing as he gets older, and I am nervous for his journey in this big world!! He is just such a huge part of my very heart and soul, and I hope that the world is gentle and kind with him...he is such a "golden boy" as his Nana calls him, and I would give anything to ensure that his little spirit is never crushed. I don't want to protect him from the world, necessarily, I just want to make sure that he is loved enough to be strong and brave to face all that will come his way!!
As you can see, I am so conflicted about him getting older (as I am sure all parents experience). He is such a joyful child, and I am proud of him and all his accomplishments, and I love to watch him grow, but I already miss the softness that was in his cheeks and hands when he was 18-mos-old, the chubbiness that used to be in his legs and arms...now they are so lean and muscular. I miss his little words like "yo-gret" and so many others that have now gone by the wayside. I miss when he was in my arms and on my hip all day long...now that he is so big, if we are visiting friends, I can go an entire day without holding him at all. But seeing the pride in his eyes as he fully dressed himself this week, and pedaled a tricycle around by himself at my parents house, seeing him love being a brother and work so hard to keep Molly happy...I know that so much of the best is yet to come!
He made me a mother...my darling son.
Happy 3rd Birthday, Benjamin Aaron Schiltz
Here are 2 pics from this time last year, and 2 pics from this week!