February 21, 2007
Today I was organizing the mudroom closet and noticed the diaper bag tucked in the back on the shelf. A bag I have not used in a long time. When I went through it I found diapers a size too small, dried up wipes, sunscreen, toys filled with sand and something that was probably once edible, so I know it has been several months at least.
Nowadays I keep a diaper or two in the van with some wipes, or just toss a diaper in my pocketbook. Or if I am being completely honest just wing it and hope for the best. I have no need for dragging around a special bag. I began cleaning it out and then thought, why am I even keeping this. It was the hospital freebie, generic black, and I never felt the need to buy an expensive one.
And so I threw it all away. The bag and all it’s contents.
For the first time in 12 plus years, I do not have a diaper bag hanging in the closet or tossed near the door. No jingling rattles or squishy books waiting to be whipped out in an emergency. No bibs, sunhats, plastic coated baby spoons, or dried up old pacifiers that I would try to pass off as toys in an emergency. Yes, there is such thing as a toy emergency.
I thought it would be a bittersweet sort of thing, but it isn’t. There are other things I will miss about your babyhood, but the diapers and carrying around the contents of my home just in case, is not one of them. When I think about you being potty trained by this time next year, I am giddy with anticipation.
This month your language skills have blossomed. I thought you were talking well before, but now I am blown away by your complex sentence structure.
“You change me diaper, mama”
“My help you mama.”
“You put me my bed, mama”
“You get my joe (water) mama”
“My hab a coo-KEE mama.”
Clearly the things you chose to say show that I am some sort of neglectful mother who needs to be reminded to take care of you.
You have a high chair you sit in at the table, but you also grab it and push it around the kitchen. Whenever you see me standing at the stove or facing a kitchen counter you immediately grab the chair. I hear it scraping across the kitchen floor, while you maniacally yell, “My help you! My help you, Mama!” It is so annoying and yet so damn adorable I can’t help but smile and enjoy it. Even though I know you really are just trying to get dibs on the mixing bowl, I tell myself that it is me you want to be near.
The other night you picked up a macaroni off your dinner plate and held it up your ear. “Hello…. hello” you said. And then you laughed like it was the funniest joke ever. And it was funny. I don’t recall you telling a joke to purposefully make us laugh before this one. Maybe some day you will be a comedian and when they interview us about your childhood I will be able to say, “Oh he started telling jokes at 26 months old. Really, we knew he would be a joke telling superstar one day. He was a comedic prodigy.”
Then you reached over to my plate with your fork. “My help you mama,” you said. You used the side of your fork to cut my meatball in half, exactly the way that I do it for you. You were so proud of yourself. As you pulled your fork away from my plate, you gave it a few good shakes over your head sending sauce splattering on everyone sitting at the table near you. That was funny too, but mostly for the people uneffected by the splattering.
I look at you now and see a boy. I still catch myself referring to you as “the baby” It makes you laugh and you shake your head, “No my bay-BEE,”you say. Like it is the most ridiculous thing. Being a baby was soooo yesterday.
Whenever I put on lipstick you insist on kissing my lips so that you can have lipstick on too. Then you smack your little lips together. I love it. That is something I’ll miss. Twelve year old boys don’t do that, thankfully. It wouldn’t be nearly as cute.
Nor do they climb into bed with you in the morning and wake you up by quietly getting very close to your face and then shouting “Hello” loud enough to wake even the dead. Yes, I’ll even miss this.
I love how you turn everything into a baseball bat. Your eye hand co-ordination is fascinating to someone like me who has none.
And you are happy. So happy go lucky that it hardly seems normal.
My favorite thing though, that I hope to remember always, is the way you say, “Otay” in the most pathetic little voice whenever you are agreeing to one of our “requests” like not coloring on the walls, not throwing your food, or going down for a nap.
Recently, you were sick with some sort of stomach bug, probably the one that your oldest brother had the previous week. (and the one that would hit me and the rest of the family a week after this) You threw up all night long, until your body was wracked with dry heaves and you weakly protested, “No” as I held the little pot under your chin.
I hope you will forgive me for that one time when I whacked you in the face with the little pot; I was a bit overzealous in my efforts to protect my brand new expensive area rug. You’ll understand one day.
If you don’t, well we can just add it to the ever growing list of things to discuss with your therapist one day. Like lipstick wearing.
And the fact that I sing the song, “Always a Woman to Me,” but change the lyrics to “Always A Baby to Me”
It’s true. You always will be.
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