And just like that, 8 months have crept and flown by all at once.
You woke me up today at quarter of five, so I made you a bottle and sat in the rocker feeding you…and you just stared at me. Lately, I can’t get your attention for a moment while feeding you a bottle. You are constantly looking at the world around you, taking in every moment, almost afraid you’re going to miss something. But not this morning. Today, all you cared about was me.
Even after you finished eating, you quietly stared at me while I stroked your soft cheeks. I was trying to memorize the feeling because I know the softness will soon turn in to that of a toddler’s, then a child’s, then the bumps of a teenager, then the wrinkles of an adult, and by then and long before you will never just sit and let me touch your cheeks.
You are a precious gift to me, as are your brother and sisters…but you…you are the only thing I know to be certain and that is that you are my last little baby.
You are the last baby that will ever wake me up at night, sometimes hungry, but more often then not, just wanting me. You love me more than anyone in the world right now and I don’t feel badly saying that because your sister loves your Daddy in just the same way. Someday he will probably be the center of your world, but for now I am, and I cherish that.
I love when I pick you up and you rest your head in the curve of my neck and shoulder and suck your fingers with your other arm clinging to my back. Sometimes you do it because you are sad, but most times it’s just the way you show me you love me. You only do it with me, and I thank God he made you so sweet. He knew I would need the snuggles of my last little baby.
But here you are, trying to walk already! You can move up and down tables and furniture and yesterday you even achieved the 180 degree switch from the couch to the coffee table, and with that my heart sank a little…I know that soon (and far too soon in my opinion) you will be walking and I will be trying even harder to keep up with you. You are an ambitious little boy and you don’t give up. You are not easily distracted, perhaps only for a moment, but you remember your original focus. This is challenging for me as your mother, but will probably be one of your greatest strengths in your life.
You sit at the dinner table with us every night and you love it. If I’ve taken too long to cook and have already fed you, it doesn’t matter. You must eat something with the rest of us, whether it’s puffs or chopped fruit. You need to be included and doing the same, and it’s funny to me that at such a young age you already know that about yourself. I think it is because you are sensitive and sweet, but maybe it’s because you’re the fourth. Maybe it’s because you are always surrounded by the chaos of everyone else and you like it…but maybe it’s because at heart you are a follower. Some people think that the only great people are leaders, but I disagree entirely. Some people need to be followers, or who would then be the support of the greats? It takes inner strength to believe in someone or something else. Sometimes it’s better to know yourself and lead yourself if your own way, and sometimes that’s in a direction that has been set out for you by someone else. And you know what? That is great too. Whatever you grow into, I know that it is the boy then the man that God designed you to be and I am thankful for that.
You love your big brother and sisters, and it seems as though you love them all the same. Each one makes your face light up and you smile, and when you smile it’s the only time you are not the spitting image of your father. When you smile I know that there’s some of me there in you because it’s the same smile as your brother’s and that is the smile of your Uncle Mikey. You smile at nearly everyone, but it’s only after you intently stare at them. It’s as though you are analyzing them and within 10 seconds you know…you either love them and smile ear to ear, or just stare. I love that about you because it tells me that you are a people watcher, just like myself and your Daddy. Someday people may think that you’re unkind or even intimidating because of this, but don’t lose it. It’s better to know what you’re getting into before you’re in the middle of it, even if it’s a simple conversation. That being said, when you give away your smile, it usually comes at my body’s expense because you simultaneously jump and punch me, excitedly burying your face in my chest, then returning eye contact to smile again, and once more hit me in delight!
You are strong as an ox and 24 pounds. Your newest conquest is destroying our Christmas tree or ripping up all of my magazines. You pull everything of every surface. You are trying to open my cabinets and if my dishwasher is open, you will crawl at the speed of lightening to it and try to rip out the bottom rack. Bath time is your favorite part of the day, especially if Addie joins you and you can show off how hard you can splash. Your little body is like a ticking clock and you know your schedule. If it’s time for you to sleep, you will stop crawling around and ly down on the floor and sleep exactly where you are until I bring you to your bed.
Your energy and habit of waking me up before the sun rises has made 9:30 my new bedtime. I am exhausted at each day’s end, although I’d love to stay up later just to have some peace and quiet. What keeps me from protesting with myself is that someday, I won’t be able to fall asleep. Someday I will try to find ways to exhaust myself with hobbies or tv shows or whatever it may take just to go to bed as tired as I do these days. Someday I won’t have a sweet little brown eyed boy that just wants me to hug him and rock him back to sleep. Someday you won’t be the perfect size and I wont be able to curl you up in my arms and hold you at all. But for now, you are my baby, and I will gladly wake up at 4:45 in the morning for you.