From the moment you have a baby, everyone’s telling you to appreciate every single moment because "they grow up so fast." In my experience, it's hard to appreciate the sentiment when you're sleep deprived, touched out, and holding a crying baby. Still, they do grow up fast, and before you know it they're driving and preparing to graduate high school. I asked moms to share the moment they realized their babies aren’t actually babies anymore, because I'm starting to realize my own son isn't a baby anymore, too. If I'm going to be drowning in my feelings, I want company.
My son just turned 4, and while he's far from "grown up" he's definitely not a baby anymore. Every day that passes, I see glimpses of who he’s becoming and I see less and less of the baby he once was. Honestly, it's a harsh reality, especially since I know I can't go back in time. I can't go back and relive the moments when I held him, as an infant, in my arms. I can't go back to his first words or his first steps or the first time he smiled. And while there are more firsts to come, knowing I can't get those milestones back can be, well, heartbreaking.
I first noticed my son was getting older when his skin started changing. It wasn’t as soft anymore, and I would find scratches and bruises from his time on the playground, attempting to defy the laws of gravity. Then, one day, I sniffed his head and realized it just didn’t have that same intoxicating baby smell. But, to be honest, I think it hit me most when he started saying, “I’m not a baby anymore, mom! I’m a big kid!” He’s been doing that more and more lately and since he finally potty trained himself, and while I’m super proud of him and his independence, I'm also sad. So I asked a few other moms about the moment they realized their babies weren’t exactly babies anymore, and this is what they shared:
“When the baby feet turned to ‘boy’ skinny feet.”
“The toilet flushed and I didn’t even know she went in there.”
“When he started conspiring against me.”
“[My daughter] said her tooth was falling out. I wiggled it and it’s true! That went by so fast! She will be 5 soon.”
“When she said ‘f*ck’ when I was trying to get her in her car seat. [That was] also the same time I stopped swearing in front of her.”
“I had this experience last week. I think it was brought on when I touched my new baby’s head, then touched my almost 3-year-old’s and realized she has coarse ‘adult’ hair now, and her silky baby hair is gone. Bittersweet.”
“When my now 4-year-old asked me where people go when they die... when he was about 2.5!”
“All three kids did the same exact thing. They started to question why I would help them, and requested that I stopped helping them because they were ‘big kids’ already.”
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.