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Let me hold on to you a little longer, my sweet baby

It is then that you are my sweet, cuddly baby once more.

Let me hold on to you a little longer, my sweet baby

The memories come back to me as tears flood my eyes remembering that just one short year ago today was the day of your birth. I become so emotional while reflecting on how fast this baby season has zoomed by.


A year ago, our days consisted of multiple nursing sessions and then gentle, sweet sighs as you slept peacefully on my chest in the carrier while I made lunch for your older siblings. The snuggles could be endless if I wanted them to be.

And my baby, I wanted them to be—because I know now that babies don’t keep. Babies don’t keep their soft rolls or their newborn smell or their ability to fall asleep so easily in your arms. It’s part of the beauty and heartache of motherhood—watching your kids grow out of each stage of their childhood.

Now you, my very last baby, are a baby no more. The move to toddlerhood started earlier than I imagined as you’ve been taking steps since only 9 months old. Soon after, nursing began to change dramatically as you became far too distracted by every sister squeal nearby and every light beam that moved. Suddenly, nursing wasn’t the same for us, and you began to push away sooner and ask for it less often. Now, you are too busy keeping up with your four bigger siblings to stop and ask for milk.

You’ve always proven to have a strong, determined and independent personality compared to your siblings. Even when you were born—you were my only baby to arrive before your due date!

I admire and appreciate that about you, as I am a mom of five who already does so much for others. It is quite helpful to have a little one who desires doing things on their own.

But still, it breaks my heart knowing that my last baby is in a hurry not to be the baby anymore.

While I love having a less achy back (because I no longer carry you everywhere) and while I love watching you explore the house, gain momentum in your zombie walk, and discover the joy of everyday playful moments with your family—my most favorite moments with you are found in another place.

My favorite part of the day with you is just before bedtime. It is then that you are my sweet, cuddly baby once more.

It is there, in the dim of your room, when nursing is acceptable again and even needed for that last bit of comfort and fuel for a good night’s sleep.

It is in those moments just after nursing when you babble contently and then find your thumb to suck signaling that you are ready for sleep.

It is when you still allow me to hold you, even after we stand up to move to your crib when you lay your head down on my shoulder, willing me to snuggle just a little longer.

It’s when you gaze at me with your joyful blue eyes, smile behind your thumb—revealing your newly-grown teeth—and kick your little feet gently against the tummy you used to live in.

Our pre-bedtime routine brings us back to where we were a year ago, to my tiny newborn. Our routine is a task only I have been able to do since then. I treasured it then, and I’ll continue to cherish it now.

Snuggling on my chest, us both content with the feel-good-oxytocin flowing from nursing, the smell of your sweet fuzzy head close to my nose, and an endless supply of kisses to lay upon your squishy cheeks—is one of the absolute best moments of my day. I can’t get enough time with you, sweet girl.

It’s these moments that help me hold on to you, my last baby, a little bit longer. Because I know in another blink of an eye you will be 10 like your oldest sister—and won’t fit in my arms any longer.

So for now, my baby, I’ll hold onto these moments with you. For as long as you’ll let me.

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A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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Life

A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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Life