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

Mom Moment 11

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

a mom's life


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nonmember avatar Megan

Great article! My exact thoughts. I too wish time could stand still for a while. I am grateful because I realized this very early on and have not pushed or rushed anything with my daughter, who also just turned 3 on Dec 22. It has gone by too fast but I'm so appreciative that I've been able to stay home with her and enjoy every minute with her. I guess it came a little easier for me to not rush things because she is our 1 miracle I had at 41 and I knew this was the only chance I'd get to experience everything. So like you, I worry about being here for her to a ripe old age. We are working on potty training but she is also resistant. Some days are great, some aren't. That's ok. I know pressuring her will never be the answer and I could never do that to her. She will get there when she is ready. She also still likes her pacifier. I know people have their opinions on that but I just ignore. It brings her comfort, what's wrong with that? She will part with it when she's ready. She's also still in her crib, sleeps well, loves it, never has tried to climb out and wakes up happy and singing too. Overall she is a very happy, well adjusted little girl and that tells me she's doing just fine and going at her own pace. I'm so grateful for the inner peace I have when I see other friends rushing their little ones into toddler beds and out of diapers. Thanks for the reminder!

boldr... boldrumble

I So understand. My baby is six years old now...

jalaz77 jalaz77

I couldn't agree more. I never rushed to milestones. When I hear people say their kid is walking at 8 mo, I feel sorry for them cause I love the crawling stage for a bit then walking...ya know? They won't be kids forever so I treasure every moment.

Venae Venae

Yep, it flies by - my oldest is 22 and if I look at her sometimes, she's still 2 years old sitting in a ray of sunshine coming through the glass door looking at her books.  

This article is exactly why I'm so sad for those women who aren't home w/their kids.  These days pass so fast and they NEVER come back.

mompam mompam

I agree with you. My oldest is graduating HS this year. Sob.

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

I usually just take the milestones in stride. But there is one thing I still do with my daughter that is "babyish". I rock her like a baby into arms every night and sing her one song. She's 3.5 so she is not that heavy but I know one day she won't want that anymore so I continue to do it, even though she might be a little old for it. But with other things; pacifiers, bottles, I let them go when it's appropriate.

early... earlybird11

I remember he first months... Longing for milestones. Now I feel the same way. We are flying to 2 years old and I have no idea where the time went. He is a talkitive little person and his personlity is soaring so I try to embrace it all. But sometimes it is hard

Jespren Jespren

I figure when you start aching for those days past and longing your toddler was a babe, your preschooler was a toddler, etc, it's time to add to the nest, not be sad it will one day be empty. I expect I might feel some of that 'slow down! Stay little!' with my last baby. But right now I can just grin and be thrilled at watching them mature into little people, after all, I've got another one in my arms, and in a couple years, another one will come along (God willing).

Jespren Jespren

Oh, and I don't mean that you have to be perpetually pregnant or anything. My cousins missed little kids so when their three were all headed out of high school they adopted 3 little ones, one an infant.

Melem... Melemogul

We have to cherish the time we still have left at home with them. I still look at my kids and wish I had more toddler days but hey: they have to grow up some time. My teenagers laugh when I say that I could still see the 2 year old that played in the dirt and slept with a teddy at night. I know I only have a few more years before college with them so I think the empty nest syndrome is kicking in early. I have been blessed though because I did get to see all their moments while growing up since I stayed at home.

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