By the measure of age, Elvie is a toddler. I see other signs, too. She asserts her will more often now. Her body is starting to lengthen. She is on the move, and she won’t slow down for anyone. Due to her tough beginnings coupled with her physical differences, Elvie has had some delays, and I’ll confess that I have enjoyed having her seem more like a baby for longer. We missed the first four and a half months of her life, and getting a little bit more time with her baby habits has been fantastic. I love that she is learning so much and progressing so well, but I have loved her babyness, and I will miss some things about how she was as a baby.
It seems right to me that the time we saw her as a baby would be drawing to a close as we pass the one year mark as her family. She deserved to be babied and kept close for this year, and even if she hadn’t had the physical challenges and delays, I would have wanted to still give her that time. I feel strongly that allowing her the time and space she needed instead of stressing about being on schedule has made all the difference in how we feel about parenting and how she responds to our encouragement to do more. I see her confidence in her new skills, and it makes my heart so happy.
Lately she has started requesting her bottle and her pacifier less. She still likes to snuggle, but not for as long as she did before. If she sees her big sister or another kid doing something, she wants to join in, and she is never happy with an alternate activity. She is growing up. As I look back over the past year, I am so thankful that we got to spend it with her the way we did. I will always treasure the memories of rocking her to sleep and letting her nap on my lap, of putting her in the carrier and having her snuggle in close, of feeding her in my arms.
I know that I will make new memories of Elvie’s toddlerhood that I will love just as much as I love the baby memories. I know she will do amazing things that will astound me and make me clap my hands together with joy. I know she will get stronger and faster and more independent as time goes by. But I know, too, because it’s still true of her big sister, that she will always be my baby.