Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Don't Grow Up

This past week my little one, my baby, my Maisy, started preschool.  While I thought that I would rejoice in the new-found freedom of three child-free mornings a week, my true emotions on that first day were more sorrowful than joyous.
Maisy's first day.
When I dropped my first born, Elana, off at her first day of preschool the other, more seasoned, mothers offered words of comfort- "Don't worry, she'll be fine," and "This must be so hard for you!"  To them, I nodded and smiled, guilt-ridden that I wasn't actually feeling somber.  I was excited for Elana to begin school.  I had a 5-month-old at home, and was eager for some one-on-one time with the baby.  (By one-on-one time, I meant watching daytime television while the baby took her extended morning nap.)
Elana's first day pose.
However, this time it was different.  There was no infant waiting for me, no one left to swaddle, burp, and sleep contently in a carrier while I browse the boutiques of Noe Valley.  No, this was it.  There are no more babies for me.  My uterus is locked and closed!

Already well acquainted with the preschool drop-off, Maisy got right to work at the art table.  At once she looked too small and too grown-up.  Sitting there in the toddler sized chair, at the toddler sized table, she seemed confident and at-home, but still a part of her screamed baby (maybe it's the round cheeks, diapered bottom, or the bowl hairstyle she so sweetly sports). Knowing that this was the right thing for both Maisy and me, I repressed my sadness and gave her a quick confident kiss good-bye and left Maisy in her classroom filled with paints, blocks, and floam.

As my subsequent child, I am not eagerly anticipating most of Maisy's milestones.  Potty training- no thank you!  It's not just that I don't want to do the leg work (the constant potty reminders, cleaning up puddles of pee pee, and dealing with extreme I Don't Want to Go Potty tantrums), but I am not ready for her to be a big girl.  By keeping her in diapers, I am allowed to preserve the image of her babyhood. 

In contrast, my husband is anxiously awaiting the day Maisy graduates to a big girl bed.  He envisions mornings where Maisy and Elana wake-up simultaneously in their bunk bed, pour themselves bowls of Cheerios, and play quietly with princess dolls until Mommy and Daddy awake.  As wonderful as this (completely optimistic) picture may sound, my standard response is still "Maybe in a few months." 

As much as I want to keep Maisy a baby, she continues to defy my wishes.  Yesterday she insisted on peeing in the potty and today she declared "I'm a big girl!"  I guess that I must allow her these achievements, it seems I have no other choice.  However, for now I am mourning the loss of my baby, while she fully embraces toddlerhood.

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