Michael turned 11 months yesterday. The date did not exactly slip by me, though I had plenty of distractions to draw my focus from it. After the way my morning started off, I knew that I would not get "month" pictures in that day, but I did have a plan to take them the following day, provided that things went as smoothly with Abby as I was hoping they would.
Abby was and is great. It's as though yesterday never happened. However, her unexpected illness sent my stress levels through the roof again, for all of the obvious reasons, but also because as anxious as I am about our impending trip to New Jersey, I found myself far more anxious in the face of uncertainty about it. It was one thing to know that we'd be going, and be obsessing about all the little details wrapped up in that reality. It was entirely another to be worrying about our game plan if we did go, and simultaneously worrying about the possibility that we couldn't.
Unfortunately, the jury is still out on that and I'm feeling pretty stretched thin. Abby is clearly fine, but I won't know for another day or so whether Michael is, too. Which is probably one of many reasons why I got very little sleep last night, and am therefore dragging, big-time, today.
Needless to say, "month" pictures still didn't get done. I had the perfect opportunity after lunch, when Abby went down for her nap, and Michael was freshly fed, napped, and good-spirited. However, when it came down to it, not only was I feeling too tired to get everything set up, I utterly lacked motivation. I still do. I've started to make it a "thing" in my head now, I guess. Like taking the pictures makes it real. And I'm not ready for it to be real. I'm not ready for Michael to be less than a month from his first birthday.
And I am utterly stymied by my own ambivalence. Michael's infancy has been incredibly difficult. I should be more than ready to leave it behind. And sure, I felt a little reluctant to reach this point with Abigail, but I felt simultaneously excited, too. Too excited to really regret it much, in the moment. My baby was growing up, but- my baby was growing up! Maybe that's what's at the heart of it. That, having experienced first hand the major changes that start to occur beyond that point, I am all too aware of what I stand to lose.
Of course, there is so much to gain, as well, so why I can't seem to focus on that, I don't know. Especially since, much as I may come to miss Michael's babyhood, as I have Abby's, I'm also about to introduce a brand-new baby to my crazy life, who will surely satisfy whatever new-baby craving I may ever have.
The new baby may be my last for a very long while, though. Perhaps I am getting a jump-start on mourning over that. Perhaps, my pregnancy hormones are simply getting the best of me. Perhaps stress is. Perhaps, I'm still stuck way too deep in this funk that I've been trudging through lately.
I'm too tired to try to make sense of it. It just is. But the pictures will get done, somehow, some way, and perhaps I will gain some healing through the process.
In the meantime, I'll keep marveling over these, that I took today.
(Not for their quality, mind you. The Panasonic was what I had handy, and the button flash and automatic settings were quick and convenient.)
Granted, the angle makes Michael look a bit bigger than he really is, but look at his face. Look how animated, intelligent, and mischievous it's become. How very toddler-like.
My littlest baby is growing up, and leaving babyhood behind.
Thankfully, Abby is around to remind me that toddlers are pretty awesome, too.
Her intellectual progress amazes me on a daily basis. Just this afternoon, she began to talk to me about yesterday's events. "You threw up in the car," she said (she's still mixing up pronouns pretty consistently).
"Yes, sweetie, you threw up in the car yesterday. But you're okay today, right?"
"The brown shirt is dirty."
"Yes, it got very dirty, but Mommy washed it, so it's all clean now." (I felt compelled to add, under my breath, "Though you will probably never wear it again.")
And Abby felt compelled to remind me to always watch what I say.
"You're a mess!" she declared, with perfect inflection.
I felt a little bad, then. It was just one of those things I muttered under my breath in my panic and frustration, but it was insensitive, and could potentially have offended an older child. Point taken, my sweet little monkey. I'll try to do better, next time.
But the best part of the day was just before dinner, as Abby was cuddling next to me on the love seat. I took a moment to show her my belly, and ask her if she remembered what was inside. "Baby inside. Raspberry." She poked at my belly button for a bit, and then I pulled my shirt back down, as I began to feel a little chilled. However, just a minute or so later, she pulled my shirt back up, grabbed the ribbon of my pajama pants, and began to trace it across my abdomen.
At first, I thought that she was just randomly playing around with the ribbon. But then she said, "Like Dr. K (my OB). Check on Raspberry. Turn on the button. Want to get some cream."
Then it struck me. The ribbon was a doppler wand. The cream was ultrasound gel. She was listening for her baby sibling's heartbeat.
How cool is that?
Certainly cool enough to remind me that while I'll always miss her babyhood, I'll never wish it back. There's so much to her now that simply wasn't there before.