Being the parent of a toddler is amazing. There’s activity around every corner — some of it full of mischief. There’s artwork on my walls, intentional and not-so-intentional. There’s a pile of toys waiting to be dumped onto the floor every evening — and there’s that incredible grin that spreads on my little one’s face when I pick her up from “school.”There’s nothing like listening to the jibber jabber of my grown-up baby, now making full sentences, telling me, ”No!” in an act of independence and singing made-up songs that are chart-toppers in my iTunes playlists. There’s nothing like chasing her in the grocery store or Target and looking and feeling like a crazy person trying to wrangle the ball of life I created. There’s also nothing like reading stories at bedtime where we giggle at silly books, counting hippos and kittens to learn our numbers, hugging goodnight and hearing those sweet words, “I love you, Mommy.”But for all of those wonderful, incredible things, sometimes I look at my tot and wonder where the time went and wish I could hold onto her as she was the day she came home from the hospital. Here are 10 reasons I long for those teeny baby days:
This has to be number one because it really is what I miss most. I love baby cuddles — snuggling after bath time with that cute baby all wrapped up in a hooded duck towel or sitting for what seemed like hours in the same position just holding her in my arms as she slept. Then, when it was finally time for bed, I loved gently rocking her to sleep and watching her eyes slowly start to close. Sigh. You just can’t beat that.
Naps of any kind are a blessing, but when there are multiple during the day — well, that’s just divine. I didn’t sleep well when my tot was a baby, both because she wasn’t a great sleeper but also because when she actually slept on her own, I was listening hard to make sure she was breathing. But nap times? Those were the moments where both she and I were able to really rest — and it was glorious. Now, getting one nap in during the day is a miracle.
Remember when I said I chase my tot through Target? In the early days, we’d hit Target as a way to escape the house for a half hour between meals and nap times. We’d walk through the aisles, and I’d talk to her in a silly language. She’d smile and look around in a happy, peaceful state — and I didn’t look like a crazed lunatic like I do now as I chase her through the toy section.
Stroller Rides and Baby Wraps
I think that transporting my babe was actually easier when she was a little baby. When she fell asleep in the car seat, we’d pop it out of the car and into the frame of the stroller and go for a walk. When she woke up, we’d snuggle in a baby wrap as we walked.
Easy to Occupy
Occupying a toddler isn’t that difficult, but you definitely need several back-ups for when they lose interest and a reliable playground for when all else fails. Babies, on the other hand, can look at a crinkle toy for a full hour or gaze at the whirring of a ceiling fan to fall asleep. Life is simple, basic and just wonderful.
Diapers Are Cheaper
Yep, I miss the giant boxes of small Newborn diapers. I guess it makes sense that more material would mean a higher price tag for bigger diapers, but I feel like I’ve been robbed. They’re still needed to contain those basic bodily functions, so I grab the biggest box I can find — with half the number of diapers but twice the cost.
Teeny Baby Clothes — and Onesies
Baby clothes are just adorable. There’s something about the newborn and three to six month sizes that melt your heart. Then, there are the onesies. Their practicality is highly underrated. I feel like if people realized just what a great idea onesies are, we’d all be wearing them. I suppose they are kind of catching on with the adult footie pajamas, but we have a way to go. There’s no worrying about matching pants to shirts, and if they have feet, there’s no need for shoes. Cute little animals and writing on the backside is also totally acceptable.
I’ll never forget picking up my baby from her first days at “school.” Out of sheer, untainted joy she would pump her arms and legs when she saw me. I knew, then, that I had witnessed true happiness. And though my tot runs and flings herself at me now, the purity of those first days will be branded on my memory forever.
There are still plenty of firsts we’ve yet to experience, but those baby “firsts” are pretty darn great. When she held her head up on her own, rolled from her back to her belly and said, “Mama” for the first time — these were incredible moments.
I have a video of my baby’s first giggles, and I see the videos my friends are posting online of their own babies showing their new laughing skills. Baby giggles melt worries and spread cheer to everyone else — I don’t even have to know the baby who is laughing. I smile at them all. Having a toddler really is something. Watching her discover her world and how to interact with other toddlers is incredible. But these days, where she wiggles out of my arms and runs off, sometimes I think — just for a second — how much I miss those first days and months with her.