When Your Last Baby Turns 2 (and What I Vow to Do)
First, ugly cry.
Now that that’s out of the way, make sure to document with photos of the day your last baby becomes a full-fledged toddler and you foray into the unsure world of no. more. babies. ever.
Soak it all in. Don’t let it all fly by because you’re too caught up with daily grind of work/life/whatever to be present.
Of course, you’ll also need to acknowledge and embrace this new way of life. Maybe it’s talking about it or journaling. I don’t write nearly often enough about motherhood perspectives, like I intended to when I first began this blog. I think the reason is because doing so would force me to confront my feelings about certain hard things – and maybe see that I’m flailing a bit. Perspectives like: “Why is My 7-Year-Old an Asshole (and How Do You Fix This?)” Or “When You Aren’t Winning at SAHM Life or Working Mom Life”.
And certainly, “That Moment You Realize You’re Not Having Any More Babies”. This last topic is where we are now. I don’t think we ever had a real discussion about it, beyond the Husb saying “Nope. I’m done!” to anyone and everyone who would jokingly ask us about the possibility of having a fourth child. Besides, if I’m being honest, we’re only happily married like 50% of the time (give or take) so I think it’s time I accept the fact that there’s gonna be no more babies in our cards. And if one of you doesn’t want any more children, then I guess that’s that, right? How do you decide when you’re done having kids?
Atticus is our last baby (still ugly crying) and he’s now the same age as my middle child, Rowan, was when he was born: 27 months. At the time of Atticus’s birth, Rowan was peaking at the sweetest stage ever and cooperatively relinquishing himself to Middle Child status. I loved when Rowan was that age! But many details of him at this age are a bit hazy, with me being too consumed in that postpartum newborn fog, dirty diapers and constant hunger. It’s only in retrospect now that I somewhat recall the curious glances No. 2 would throw my way as he patiently watched me with baby Atticus or waited on me to come along. And later when we transitioned him to a big boy bed at age 3, the gentle hugs he would give me as we snuggled up together for a bedtime story.
Do I feel guilty that I don’t really remember much of sweet RoRo at the cusp of his little personality blossoming? Yes. Because looking at Atticus who is now at that same age, I sometimes get this sense of déjà vu like we’ve been through this before (we have), but the little moments are hazy. And even though I see some of his big brother in Atticus now, there’s a lot of his own individual self, too, and I vow to myself that I am going to be present, soak it all in, and remember it all for this child.
Let me bottle up the scent of the top of his head, which I still sniff every time I nurse him. Let me notice his little quirks: like how he has loved cleaning up and throwing away trash since the ripe young age of 13 months, how at 15 months he would grab my face and smooch me right on the lips like he’s a grown man, how at 18 months he learned to say polite niceties (says “Thanks” and “Pees” for please), how at 20 months he liked to pose in front of doors and walls and make me take his picture, how at age 24 months he liked to jump into my photoshoots and mimic my posing.
Middle Child RoRo was always my easiest, happiest, most joyful child from day one – the exact opposite of No. 1, who was/is still moody and contrary and I knew I would struggle with from the day I gave birth to him in the hospital. (I’ll save that for another blog post, maybe I’ll call it “When Your Firstborn’s Personality Makes You Think Twice About Having Another”.) And No. 3, the Last Baby, well, he’s got a bit of both his brothers in him, but with a far bigger personality and the biggest emotions. I think this is the one who will teach me to feel the most.
What are your thoughts on mothering your last child?
p.s. These gorgeous pics were taken by my girlfriend Caila Quinn on Atticus’s 2nd birthday a few months ago in New York City. We had a playdate with Caila in DUMBO, took a few spins on Jane’s Carousel, and played at the playground. Scroll down to see pics with Atticus’s first crush!