Over the years, I've had three babies go from snuggly newborns to independent toddlers. The transition from wanting to touch me every waking moment (and even most sleeping ones) to wanting to do everything on their own was sometimes sudden, other times gradual, and varied from child to child. Regardless, I learned that there are ways your baby is trying to ask for space, and how you respond to those cues can be the difference between a happy baby and a, well, not-so-happy one.
While I know, logically, that being able to play, sleep, eat, and move on their own are important milestones for a baby to reach, I can also say that it's so heartbreaking to accept. One day your baby will want to be rocked to sleep, and the next they won't sleep unless they're alone and no one is touching them. While I can't stand the sight of my baby's tears when I leave the room, it's difficult for me to accept that, eventually, those tears will end and my baby will revel in my absence. Then they'll refuse to be held and will want to walk everywhere, by themselves, which is cute, sure, but also the worst. I mean, danger is all around you, dear reader, and your independent toddler sure as sh*t seems hellbent on finding it.
Watching your babies grow up is so bittersweet. One one hand, it's amazing to see them transform from potato-like newborns, who cry, poop, or sleep all day, to curious, tiny humans who have their own personalities and can't wait to explore the world. But feeling like your child no longer needs you is difficult. And in watching my last baby make this transition, I've found myself struggling to come to terms with the inevitable: my baby isn't a baby anymore. And it's never more obvious than when he's asking me for some space, and in the following ways: