Swooning on My Baby
My baby-girl will be turning three in a week’s time. THREE! That makes her a little girl, not a baby anymore. I am officially freaked out! Three is marking some serious milestones for us and it seems to almost be the end of an era. The end of my ‘baby’ and the dawning of my ‘big girl’.
Bella still uses a dummy at night and enjoys her routine of two bottles a day, once in the morning as she wakes up and just before bed time. It has become a comfort to her more than a necessity. She has also been potty-trained for nearly a year, but still wears nappies at night. Three marks the end of all of this. I have been prepping her for weeks. She knows that on her birthday we will be packing the dummies and bottles into a box and giving it all to the baby class at school. She understands that she will be turning three and is going to be a big girl, and that the babies need her dummies and bottles more than she does.
I’ve planned every detail of her Princess 3rd Birthday Party with her, and I have told her that the party is also a ‘reward’ for giving away the ‘nums’ as she calls it. I am also going to tackle the end of night-time nappies, probably a few weeks after her birthday, to give her some time to get used to not having her dummy. I don’t want to overwhelm the poor thing!
She seems ready. My big girl has taken it in her stride and has accepted that she needs to let these things go. It is time. But it is me who seems to be struggling through the last few weeks of this ‘baby’ stage. Every time she has her bottle, I ask if I can feed it to her, remembering all the hours I have spent with that child in my arms drinking her milk. The way she nestles into the crook of my elbow (where I have her name tattooed onto my arm, as it was the first place I looked into her eyes), the way she looks up at me with those baby-blues, filled with love and innocence, literally melts my heart EVERY time! My baby is turning three, and I am a mess; breathing in moments as they float by, holding onto this stage before she becomes a ‘big girl’ and swooning over memories of the tiny being that changed me.
Before I pull myself together and embrace the hell out of my girl growing up, allow me a few minutes to dwell on some of my favourite bottle moments of the last three years…
There’s the way her little lip pushes up when she sips on her bottle. The noises she makes as she gulps it all down, the exact same noises she made as a newborn. There was the day she started holding her own bottle, and all the Mama-pride that went with that moment. There’s the way her one arm always swings behind me to my back, so that she can really snuggle in close, and how the other little hand holds the bottle until it’s too tired and relinquishes the job to me. There’s the way her eyelids used to get heavy the more she drank, and the hours I would spend just staring at her, long after her feed was over, just watching her sleep. There were the nights when she drank during a thunderstorm, which terrified her as a baby, and how she would push herself even closer to me. There are the recent days when she has lined up her favourite teddies, put a blanket on each one and fed them their own bottles, showing her Mama that she has that maternal instinct too. There was the night I fed her a bottle and she promptly vomited it all back up, all over my kitchen table, and then started to giggle. There’s the way she started insisting on choosing her own bottle for the evening, wanting to help pour the milk and measure out the formula, taking responsibility for herself in a small way. And there are the times when she pushes her bottle away just to say “I love you Mommy”. My word but that girl can melt my heart!
There’s no doubt that I am going to miss this ‘baby’ stage. But my girl will always be my baby-girl, no matter how many milestones she reaches, or how many birthdays she celebrates. So I will spend the next seven days savouring every single second out of these moments, and next Monday, on Spring Day, I will open my arms to the next stage, to the start of my little girl becoming a big girl.