And then one day, just like that, they aren’t babies anymore. For me, the realization came one night while bathing the girls. Everyone was scrubbed, and I was singing my usual repertoire of eclectic musical selections that I end the bath with, when Sophie put her finger in her mouth. “Tee!” she exclaimed. “Yes, baby, that’s right! Teeth. Your teeth are in your mouth.” I replied. With more urgency, she pointed to her two tiny pearl-like teeth. “Tee!” That’s when I realized it. I had forgotten to brush their teeth. And Sophie hadn’t. And she was reminding me. My baby was reminding me to brush her teeth.
It happened that fast.
My babies grew up.
I know they are far from grown, I know parents of preschoolers, grade schoolers, adolescents, and young adults will scoff at my struggle to come to terms with my girls not being babies anymore. “Just wait,” I can hear you thinking, “Just wait.” But for me the girls have taken some huge steps lately (literally and symbolically) and I am still reeling from it.
Weaning came easy, fortunately, and as much as I wanted to do it, wanted my body back and for the kids to have a little bit more independence, it was still painful the first day that I did not nurse them at all. It was over—that symbiotic relationship, the feeling that they physically needed me in order to survive—it was over. Now when I am putting Liv down for the night, she no longer curls in to me in search for milk, she reaches out, away, grabbing for the bottle that she knows is on the nightstand next to the chair. It stings. But it had to happen.
Still, when I return after a couple of hours running errands (more on my ability to run errands without the kids later…), they come running (well, Liv comes running, Soph still walks kind of like she just got off a horse) and wrap themselves around my legs and grin up at me, I am reassured. They still need me. Just in a different way.