Once Eager for My Kids to Hit Milestones, I Now Want to Freeze Time

twins michele zippIt doesn't feel possible that my twins are 3-years-old. I swear it was yesterday that they turned 2. And it couldn't have been more than a week ago that they stopped breastfeeding. Weren't they just last month sprouting their first tooth, learning to walk, saying their first words? It certainly feels like it -- these three years have gone by so fast.

When our kids are little -- in the baby stage -- we can't wait for them to meet those milestones. I remember my son started walking before my daughter did and I couldn't wait for her to take her first little steps. When she did, it was so exciting to see her wobbly walk. Someday, she will walk right out of my life. They both will. My daily life. They will move on and out, have their own homes and lives, leaving me with a bad case of empty nest.

I no longer embrace those milestones like I used to.


It's just a symbol of all this time ... passing. Going by far too quickly. I want to freeze time, bottle up this year they are 3 and make it last for longer than one short year. I want to breathe in toddlerhood until I'm fully intoxicated by it. And then I want some more.

My son still sleeps in his crib. Some may think I'm holding him back from being a toddler man, but my toddler baby loves his crib. He doesn't climb out. He sleeps oh so soundly and wakes up singing songs and smiling. His big boy bed freaks him out. And so my son still sleeps in his crib.

My daughter starts off in her toddler bed, along with five of her favorite stuffed animals. But in the night, comes into the bed with me and my husband ... with just one stuffed animal. Technically, we are still co-sleeping. And in our new king-sized bed, we are all comfortable and sleep soundly ... unless she brings in the stuffed animal that barks if you pet his head.

One day that same little girl will come to me telling me she got her first period. And going by how fast these three years have passed, it will feel like that time will come in just a few months. I'm not ready for that. I'm not ready for goodbyes at the school bus stop. I'm not even ready for them to not sit in their high chairs. I'm not sure I'll ever be ready for puberty and dating and moving out and on and away from me. 

My mom told me a story about how when I was 3, she was trying to potty train me and meeting resistance. Something I'm going through with my own kids right now. (I'm trying, I swear.) My pediatrician, Dr. Dubin who I remember well, told my mom not to worry, that I'll most definitely be out of diapers by the time I walk down the aisle. He was right. And to his point, we shouldn't worry so much about these things, these milestones. They will happen, at the right time. Don't waste time stressing about what isn't happening and focus and enjoy all the amazing things that are happening. Because it does go by way too fast.

I wish they could stay babies forever. In a way they always will be my babies -- even when they are 40 years old. And when they are 40, I will be old. Old old. Perhaps that is really what I am most afraid of. My own mortality, ever so much clearer since I've become a mom. Not being able to be with them and enjoying all the amazing things that they do ... well, it's too painful to think about. So I will take Dr. Dubin's inadvertent advice, and intoxicate myself with the now, with all they do. I can't stop time. Everything will happen. I'm just going to breathe in the heady scent of toddlerhood ... live each day fuller. Maybe, just maybe, that will make time pass a little slower and if not slower, it will most certainly be sweeter.

Do you feel like your baby grew up too quickly; that time just flies by so fast once you are a parent? Do you worry about milestones or just take them in stride, trying to enjoy the now?


Image via Michele Zipp

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