We're done having babies. We're stopping at two children. We are clear on this, have been for a long time.
But yesterday, I watched E walk, all nonchalant, pushing a toy and I realized she's almost a toddler. I look at infant pictures of both of our girls and I feel a familiar ache and desire. Our baby is growing up. And: Who else would we make?
Saying "no more babies" sometimes feels like saying "no thank you, I don't want to fall in love again."
Because that's what the first year is about for me, in addition to the NOT SLEEPING and the nursing and the major life adjustment smack-to-the-head of OMG there's a new, totally dependent being that is relying on US, it's about falling deeply, helplessly, irretrievably in love. I know I will love my girls fiercely for the rest of my days but there is nothing like the burning intensity of the first year of their lives. Like most types of love, for me, there has been a strong limerence phase in the first year of mothering before the newness wears off, before familiar patterns emerge and become entrenched, before complexity and routine replace simplicity and miraculous discovery, before development demands separation.
There is loss inherent in every leap, every big moment in life, the passing of my last time in baby-limerence is no exception. After all, part of getting married was accepting that I would not fall in romantic love again, this time is -hopefully -my last time. (Though, I guess you could say you fall in love with your spouse again and again every single day but I might have to slap you if you, in fact, say that.)
I started this blog when Z was about to start walking. The limerence phase was ending, I could feel it. I knew her differentiation was coming; I knew the next year would be full of growth and independence and separation and conflict. I didn't want to let go of those cozy, dependent, baby days.
I still don't.