What a whirlwind the past couple weeks have been for me. Just three short weeks (or so) ago, Alli was still in diapers, Aiden was still eating 100% mommy milk, and I was working at the same place I had been for over five and a half years. And in that short amount of time... all that changed.
Aiden has taken to baby food, well, um, much like his big sister did... with reckless abandon. We've already taken in two loads worth of baby food for him and his daily sheet came home today indicating that he needs more. If this had been my first rodeo, I'd have thought his teachers were handing out his baby food to his classmates. But having been through this once before, I know that's not the case and he's eating every bit of it. I couldn't be happier for him too - I know how happy his sister was when we quit holding out on her and started giving her the good stuff. He still has about four 6oz bottles a day in between "meals", so he's still getting all the good nutrients and whatnot that his mother has slaved for hours to pump for him to have at school.
I couldn't be more proud of how quickly Alli has taken to her potty training. Those three days were slightly north of miserable... and I was on Aiden duty the majority of the time! Even though we sacrificed a long holiday weekend (and valuable time with Grandma C) to give it a try, I think it was well worth it in the end. After all, it was just one weekend... that's not much to give up in the grand scheme of things. But, I firmly believe that we laid the foundation for what has become a very easy couple of weeks following. Don't get me wrong - she still has an accident or two from time to time, but the overwhelming majority of her "releases" end up in the toilet. And I'm talking about the grown-up toilet too. The little potties really only lasted about a week or so. Once we took her to school (where all they have are grown-up toilets), she learned to use those instead and hasn't wanted to use the little potties ever since. She's even gotten to the point where I can sit her on the toilet and she can hold herself there while she does her business. Simply amazing...
Which got me to thinking... There are so many "firsts" in a child's life - the milestones that just about every child hits at some point sooner or later. The day they're born, their first tooth, first words, crawling and walking for the first time, first night sleeping in a big bed, first day without diapers. These are the moments we run for the camera or grab the video - to record those precious memories so we can relive them over and over in the future once said moment or action is mere commonplace. How many times have your parents pulled out the old Betamax tapes and forced you to watch your first Christmas? How about the first time you stood up on a pair of water skis while Uncle So-and-so recorded it from the dock?
But what about the "lasts"? The last time they use a pacifier, last nap on your chest in the middle of the afternoon, the last time they sleep with their favorite stuffed animal, last ride on their bike with training wheels. Why doesn't anyone have these moments recorded? These are the moments we tend to forget... When did Alli stop eating baby food? Crap, I can't remember... check the baby book, hopefully Mommy B wrote it down somewhere.
Because in all honesty, I'll never forget the day each of my children were born. Nor will I forget Alli's first steps. Or each child's first day of daycare - no way, pal... It would take a lobotomy to get those memories out of my head. It's the last times you forget about. Usually because it's weeks or even months before you realize it hasn't happened in a while. Before you know it, they haven't hugged you in a while - and you realize they're at the age where hugging Dad-E isn't cool anymore. I'm dreading that day more than my own death.
Some of the fondest memories I have of when Alli was a baby was when she used to fall asleep on my chest and nap for a little while. By the time I realized she hadn't done it in a while, it was over. Done. Never to happen again. She had gotten too big and was no longer comfortable sleeping on me... she preferred her cool sheets and flat bed over me. I had to wait over a year before I got to experience that feeling again - with Aiden. Out he came and I knew that for the next however many months I would have a little cuddle bug to fall asleep on me again. I was practically giddy with excitement over the mere thought of it. He'll still fall asleep on me when he's going to bed at night, and I cherish each night he does. Because I won't know which night will be the last time... probably until it's too late.
So for now I'll try my best to soak up every morning Alli sits on my lap watching TV while munching on her Cheerios (and whatever I'm eating). I'll try not to get frustrated when Aiden kicks water out of his whale tub all over the walls. "What's that Alli? You want me to read you one more book? OK, the laundry can wait..."