This post is a part of my “Board Book Beauty – Savoring the small as I read to my toddler” series. To see all of the posts in the series, go here.
Katie appreciates books with simple cadences, with short, rhyming stanzas (which explains why Sandra Boynton books have been featured more than any other author’s over the course of this series). Sweet Baby Feet, then, is an instant hit.
Chubby, cuddly baby feet may just be one of my favorite things in all the world and, inspired by the delightful words and pictures, I tickle Abby’s as I read. With a start, I realize the obvious: they’re so tiny compared to her sister’s. Katie doesn’t have anything remotely resembling baby feet anymore. Hers are most definitely those of a toddler, and they are huge in comparison.
When? When did this happen? Wasn’t it just yesterday I held her in my arms for the first time?
And yet, also, hasn’t she always been this age, always been the way she is now? Haven’t we been in this phase for an eternity?
The days are long but the years are short.
Cherish every moment.
You’re going to miss this stage.
I know. I know. I know.
These platitudes, spoken with the best of intentions, are true. (Well, maybe not that middle one. I’m doing as much cherishing as I can, but diaper blowouts and toddler tantrums and a thousand loads of laundry a week are hard things to cherish. And I’m pretty sure I won’t miss them.)
This stage of life is beautiful. Exhausting, but beautiful. I love watching Katie’s world expand, seeing her learn and grow and develop. I treasure the moments of sweet contentment on the couch, the three (or four, if Jonathan’s home) of us snuggled up together with a book and a blanket. I can’t get enough two-and-a-half-month-old grins and coos.
And I can feel the time slipping away from me, rushing past, faster, faster, faster, though I grasp and strain, trying to slow things down. Even as I watch the clock, counting the seconds until Jonathan walks in the door, even as I close my eyes and wonder if I will ever be able to shower in peace again, I know they are growing up all too fast.
Yet it’s hard. Exhausting. Tiring. And there are moments where I’d give a great deal for a cup of hot coffee sipped in silence, for an hour’s peace, without anyone needing me.
Sweet Baby Feet celebrates the fun and the joy (and the trouble!) that those feet experience in a day, but ends with this: “Who’s tired now? Mama? Maybe . . . But for sure it isn’t baby.”
And this is the truth: Life is never all just one thing or another. My days are filled with sweet baby feet and how-did-they-get-so-big toddler feet, with wonder and awe and exhaustion and ennui. They’re filled with knowing one day I’ll miss cuddling a baby and reading stories to a toddler and also with needing some time and space alone. They’re filled with dancing and laughter, with tears and tantrums. My days are full and they are long, and there are moments to be cherished and moments best forgotten.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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