Monday, April 28, 2014

Catch Her if You Can

Exactly one month and one day late, I got Mia to her 12-month physical. I'm glad to have it done with, finally, but I have to admit to having a harder time with it than I anticipated. Not only did it involve watching two of my littles go through vaccinations (Michael is a little behind and was due for Varicella), it was one more reminder of the reality I've been spending the last month trying not to think too much about.

My littlest little is getting less little every day.

The numbers are in: she's 31 inches (90th percentile) and 23 lbs (86th percentile) of almost-toddlerness. As she caught her reflection in the mirror of the exam room and announced, "baby," the very utterance from her mouth confirmed for me that she won't be staying one for very much longer.

Of course, there are so many, many good things that are happening as she ages that I conveniently forget in the midst of my self-indulgent trips down Denial Drive. I could potentially be getting a full night of sleep most nights now (if I would actually go to bed on time). Trips in the car are generally a peaceful activity. I can devote about 50% of my mealtime to eating (instead of 5% or less) now that she can shovel most things into her own mouth.

Best of all, I'm leaving a lot of the really scary stuff behind me (well, the familiar scary stuff; I'm quite aware that the future holds a whole new variety of anxieties waiting behind each new phase of life). I can relax about SIDS. I've gotten most of the early vaccinations behind me. I've spent one of the last afternoons I'll spend anxiously awaiting my child to wake from her nap post-doctor's visit so that I can confirm that she truly did not have some rare and awful reaction to her shot.

However, letting go is never a thing I've been good at doing, and embracing the changes means doing a whole lot of that.

Mia, on the other hand, is poised to do some letting go of her own. After about a week-and-a-half of showing every sign that she is physically ready once some confidence kicks in, she finally took the plunge. And after had I spent about the same amount of time trying to catch that moment, she made sure to pick a time when I could not.

It was during our evening prayer, as she clutched the heavy wooden rosary in her hand, that she took those first independent steps. Seven of them. We were mid-Hail Mary as she began, and though I did not break my recitation to make an exclamation, I let my face and hands do the communicating for me. There she was, hardly noticing what she'd done, and there I was, phone out-of-hand, and could do little more than watch with cartoonishly large eyes.

When she had finished, she plopped down on her butt to inspect the rosary more closely, as though nothing spectacular had occurred.

But isn't that how it always goes? One small step for baby, one huge leap for Mom and Dad. Hopefully the next time she takes one, I'll be ready.