Life is ever-changing, and while there are periods in our lives that seem to go in slow motion, other times seem to zip by at the speed of light. This certainly applies to parenting. The common phrase in parenting, “It goes so fast,” is so very true. In a blink of an eye our little Lucas is wearing 12-month clothes, rolling over, scooting across the floor, sitting up and eating so many fruits and vegetables. He even wants to hold his own spoon! I have quickly learned as a parent that my little man changes and adjusts much quicker than me, and I am just trying to keep up.
As a parent, you are constantly adapting, trying to keep up with these changes. I will never forget our pediatrician saying, “It’s a moving target.” Just as soon as you get used to one thing and think you have it down pat, they have already changed, moved on.
While every stage comes with new discovery, ability, fascination and challenges, it also comes with its losses. As Lucas discovers the world scooting and rolling around, it’s less time he wants to spend in my arms, being rocked and cuddled. When he was a little baby and all he wanted to do was to be fed, rocked and comforted twenty-four-seven, I sometimes longed for the days when I could set him down independently. I remember reminding myself to savor those times, even when there was little sleep. I now cherish them and take advantage of any cuddle time I can get.
Lucas’s big milestone during late July was rolling over. Though he had done this sporadically, during earlier months, it was his first big physical milestone. After lots of “Tummy Time” and practice, he had developed enough strength to flip from his back onto his belly, hold his head high and arch his back. He couldn’t get enough of doing this, rocking and squealing in delight.
It blew my mind how it really just seemed to happen overnight, and he was so excited, eager to practice his new skill all the time, especially at night. I was so proud, but I was also anxious. He had been sleeping on his back for six months now, as is pediatrician-recommended to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Little Man now wanted to sleep on his belly. I was petrified. What if he didn’t turn his head enough to the side? What if he got stuck on his belly and with his face planted into the mattress? I shared these fears with my pediatrician, other mammas, nurses and more. Everyone assured me that if he could roll over, he was fine to sleep on his belly.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t help being worried. To calm my fears, I would go back into his nursery and put him on his back after he fell asleep. After some time, I began allowing him to sleep on his stomach, but I continued to check on him every 2–3 hours to make sure he was breathing, adjusting his head and body position. However, this was taking a toll on my nerves and sleep. I really had to coach myself to “Let Go. It will be all right!” Eventually I began to grow more comfortable with his new development, but it bothered me how much this new milestone had rocked my world. He was fine; I was the one with the hang-up here.
I have grown to see that this first big milestone is the first of many transitions, changes and stages to come. As a mom, I might always be a few steps behind, holding on to older ways, adjusting to newer ones. But I refuse to let my own fears and hang-ups hinder him. I want to strive to support, encourage and build confidence in my little man as he goes through each new stage, development and adventure, even if I am always a few steps behind, trying to catch up.
Dear Baby Lucas,
We celebrated your ½- year birthday—6 months—yesterday at the beach. It’s been fun to play with you on our first family vacation—to splash in the pool and in the waves on the beach. You really love the water!
I can’t believe you were in my belly less than six months ago, kicking and moving, less than 8 pounds. You’ve grown so big, 18 pounds now and continue to do so many new things every day. Your big new trick is rolling over. You are flipping from your back to your belly in the crib, on the floor, everywhere, and holding your head up. You are also grasping objects and chuckling deeply when we “get your sugar” behind your ears.
I’m already growing anxious about returning to work in 3 weeks. I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you this summer. You bring me such immense joy! Every time I nurse you each night, I pray for God to protect you and keep you safe from harm, and I thank him for the blessing you are in our lives!