The Firsts and the Lasts

I was prepared for the firsts but not the lasts.

I read a similar phrase a while ago and it struck such a chord with me when I think about my journey in motherhood so far.

I have always looked forward to the firsts. First cry, first smile, first full night of sleep (praise the Lord). First roll over, first bite of food, first tooth. These are all things I anticipate and know to prepare for, and we celebrate each time there is a milestone moment.

During this time of staying at home, Vi reached a pretty big milestone: she crawled for the first time!

20200331_160343

We knew she had been getting super close. She had been lifting her body up in push-up position for a while. Then she was pushing up to her hands and knees and rocking back and forth. It was only a matter of time before she figured out the mechanics of crawling, and Justin and I watched eagerly, cheering her on (kind of makes up for no sports on TV? 😉 ).

Then, this past Friday afternoon after Justin got home, I set her down on the floor and put the remote (her favorite thing) on the floor in front of her…and she slowly army crawled to it! It was such an awesome moment for Justin and I to witness together and we were so excited to celebrate this milestone in our daughter’s life. She’s getting so big!

20200402_174635

For all that I look forward to the firsts, I don’t always anticipate the lasts.

The lasts are bittersweet.  While I am so very thankful for continued growth and development, sometimes it’s a little heartbreaking to see my child leave another piece of babyhood behind. And one of those big moments happened in this quarantine too.

I’ve talked before about LJ’s deep love for the pacifier. Weaning him from the pacifier was a milestone we planned for and anticipated, so that “last” was a little easier to prepare for. However, once we snipped off the end of his beloved wubbanub, he still continued to sleep with the stuffed animal part, an elephant affectionately known as Edgar, as well as two little lovies with bear heads. Every night, he wanted them tucked in his arms and every morning, he insisted on bringing “Edgie bears” (Edgar and the bears) with him. He carried them around everywhere. He looked for them to take to nap time, and smiled and laughed when he found them. He woke up and wouldn’t let us leave his bedroom without retrieving them from the crib. It seemed wherever LJ went, “Edgie bears” needed to come too.

Over time, he has been leaving them in the crib more and more. He stopped asking for them to come with him. He stopped insisting on making sure they were all three with him before he fell asleep. He didn’t need lovies tucked under each arm to fall asleep anymore. It happened slowly over time – sometimes he still wanted them and other times he didn’t – so it was easy to not really notice the gradual changes.

Then, one day in quarantine, I realized he is totally past this milestone. He no longer asks for them at all anymore. And even if he did ask for them, his speech has improved to the point where it wouldn’t sound like “Ed-gee bears” anymore. Such a big part of his life for so long . . . and now we moved past it and I don’t even know when the “last” time was. I didn’t know when it was happening, I only know now that it has. And just like that, my sweet little boy is a little bit bigger.

20200403_111612

I knew to prepare for the firsts. I did not know to prepare for the lasts.

Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom, this time in quarantine has given me more time than ever with my children. I’m not going to my women’s group, so they’re not going to childcare. We’re not going to church, so they’re not going to nursery/Sunday School. Justin and I aren’t going out for date nights, so they’re not staying with a babysitter. There’s no visits with grandparents, no playdates with friends. We are together every day, all day long. And though the days are long, I know that the years are short.

While this time in quarantine can be exhausting and difficult, it is also a gift. It is the gift of time to enjoy their littleness right now. They are growing and changing subtly every day. I guess this long and rambling post is my way of reflecting during this time – a way to get all my thoughts out and remember the complex feelings of motherhood right now. I can’t wait for the day when life goes back to “normal,” yet while we’re here in this strange new normal, I’m choosing deep gratitude for the extra time I have to soak up each of my kids’ unique personalities right now. It won’t be long before they’re on to the next stage, and I’ve accepted that my mama heart will always straddle the line of bittersweet thankfulness for that. ❤

 

 

 

Unashamed Love for my Diaper Clutch

When I think about simple little things that make my life easier, my diaper clutch tops the list. I shared about it in this post from early on in my “2 under 2” days, but I have come to love it so much that I decided it needs its own post. Is that weird? Maybe, but I’m rolling with it!

20200126_1621210

The first time I ventured out to my weekly bible study with both kids in tow, I went to drop LJ off in childcare and realized I couldn’t leave the diaper bag with him like I normally did because I still needed it for Vi, who was staying with me. I hadn’t even thought about the fact that I’d need something separate for LJ. Having no other options, I clipped his diaper name tag to one single diaper and handed it to his teacher like “oops! Sorry and good luck.” Such a rookie mistake.

I didn’t want to over-complicate things by trying to carry two full diaper bags, but I knew I needed something else for LJ while he’s still this little. I purchased a simple clutch (mine is sold out but this one is very similar) and it’s the perfect size for a small pack of wipes and a few diapers. I can also keep a snack and even his water bottle in it if I need to. (Bonus that it was bought from a store whose mission is to support survivors of sex trafficking!)

20200126_215913

I keep it stocked at all times with wipes and 1-2 diapers and store it next to my diaper bag; any time I’m going somewhere where LJ and Vi will be in separate places, I just throw it in with my main diaper bag and then have something to leave with LJ.

Two weeks ago, Justin didn’t realize he had the diaper bag in his car and ended up driving to work with it. I needed to leave the house with both kids and had no diaper bag, so I used this. I just added 2 diapers for Vi and we were good to go. It’s definitely not the ideal bag for everyday use, but it was perfect in a pinch.

Now that LJ is getting a little older, we are starting to also introduce wearing a backpack so he can learn to carry a few of his things. This pouch perfectly fits in the backpack!

And just look at how cute LJ is wearing his backpack! My heart can hardly take this. I feel like I’m practically sending him off to college right now. When did he get so big?!

20200126_163316

I love that this little diaper clutch solved a problem and made situations in my daily life much easier without causing a lot of extra work for me. It’s a simple solution that was easy to implement and even if it’s a weird thing to say, I sure do love it!

PS – You may have noticed that it’s Monday. 😉 I’m trying something a little different with the blog and switching to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday posts. There are multiple reasons for this switch, and I think this is going to be a better schedule for me right now!