As I was putting you to bed last night, I realized how big you look in your tiny crib. Your toddler limbs growing longer every day, the chubbiness of your baby rolls disappearing with each morning that you wake up.
I thought, once again, about how we'll need to transition your crib to the toddler bed soon. I keep putting it off—partly because I'm worried about how it will disrupt your currently solid sleep routine—and partly because I can't believe we've already hit this milestone.
Weren't we just transitioning you from the bassinet to this crib just yesterday? How is it time for a big boy bed already?
Everywhere I turn it seems that we're hitting one milestone or another. This summer, you've already said your first entire sentence ("I want some chocolate") and you've started to indicate that it might be time to try potty training—because you now tell me when it's time to change your diaper.
And then it hit me—slammed into me, really—and almost knocked the breath out of my lungs: This is the last summer you'll ever be this little.
The last summer your tiny baby babble still exists. The way you call ketchup "chechup" and my cellphone "sheep" (because your favorite app has a sheep on it). The way you softly sing "Happy berrday you you" to yourself whenever you see someone light a candle.
The last summer you'll be this small to carry. You already look like you're outgrowing your stroller, your skinny legs dangling from the seat in a way I could have never imagined the first time I put you in it.
The last summer you'll sleep in a crib. The way you gather your Elmo doll and your stuffed animal Foxy to you as you sleep. You've also started putting in a teddy bear, a bunny, your two favorite trucks, and sometimes a book or two. It's getting awfully crowded in that crib.
The last summer before we embark on preschool. We'll soon be exploring going to school and making new friends, learning how to listen to a teacher and leaving for a part of the day, the first tiny step into a new type of independence and life away from home.
Sometimes it all feels like too much.
I'm not ready. I think. You're not ready.
But I see that you are, my baby. I see it with each new word that you learn. Each piece of clothing you outgrow. Each new thing that "clicks" in your brain, the realization of understanding flashing through your eyes.
It makes me want to simultaneously hold on to your littleness forever, and stoke that spark of growth and learning into a roaring fire.
I love seeing who you will become.
I love how we can be going for a walk, and you'll see, really see the tiny ladybug on the sidewalk I would have never noticed, or the way the light shines through the leaves of a tree.
I love teaching you the words for your favorite fruit ("apple") and your favorite construction vehicle ("dump truck").
I love how you now know where your sippy cups live, and how you grab one and say, "water" whenever you're thirsty.
I love seeing you grow up.
So yes, my baby, this is the last summer you'll ever be this little. But that's a good thing. As hard as it is, and as much as I currently love the stage that we're in, this is a train that can't stop and I don't want it to.
The world is becoming more alive for you, and you are learning your place and your way through it. As you do, I'm learning too. I learned how to be a newborn mom, and I'm learning how to be a toddler mom, and I'll soon be learning how to be a preschool mom.
But before we do, let's enjoy our summer. Because there are songs to sing, beaches to swim in, ice cream to eat, and sand castles to build. And until they make us, we don't have to grow up just yet.