Today I shoved her legs in the baby swing, because she insisted, and something about the whole operation didn’t feel quite right. I’ve been trying to ignore the awkwardness of these seats for awhile but when I lifted her, so heavy and long, I finally acknowledged the obvious.
“I think you’re too big for this swing little girl,” I say. She smiles and throws her head back; eyes mischieveious and smile to match. She knows. Earlier this week she used the big kid swing, no problem, pumping her legs with precision and speed like she’s much older than three-and-a-half.
Meanwhile, her little brother giggles from his seat. He walked much of the way to park, stopping to (roughly) pat Sparkles the Cat and yell, “MOW, MOW, MOW” before pushing his own stroller the rest of the way. Little man is turning a corner. The baby who I was convinced might stay a baby forever has suddenly, with no explanation, become happier. Giggly. Babbling. And (besides his severe dislike for being left in the church nursery) Delightful.
It’s mostly an ordinary day, full of routines and time outs and string cheese for snacks, but I notice his belly looks smaller, and her hair is longer, and I’m no longer feeling frenzied like I was for so many months prior.
As a mom it sometimes feels like I’m living in land of Oh, This Again. We’re going to fight about which cereal, again, and argue about whether she has to take a nap, and we’re going to clean up leaky sippy cups and read Little Blue Truck for the ninth time and I’ll insist on brushing her hair and she’ll cry before I even put my brush to her head because that’s all part of the routine.
As babies their growth was nonstop and marked by piles of outgrown clothes, discarded pacifiers, and a boxed up Bumbo. In the toddler and preschool years, growth is slower. Better paced. Agonizing at times. If I don’t look closely, I forget they’re inching out of one phase and into another. One day she’ll brush her own hair, and he’ll read Harry Potter, and they’ll rush out the door without eating a thing because that’s what teenagers do, if I remember correctly.
One day, today, the bucket swing will be too small.