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Always Be My Baby

My baby is no longer a baby. He is slowly becoming something else, and my denial is doing nothing to stop his transformation. He is becoming a … boy. I am not sure when this started or when it will be complete—mostly because he is the last child in the family.

The other boys made their startling transformations literally overnight, the dates of which I will remember forever because they are the dates of the next child’s birthday. I cradled them as sweet infants in my arms the day before. I cuddled them and breathed their baby scents before leaving for the hospital. And then, without fail, when the family would come to visit the new baby, some man-boy that had been stuffed into the precious baby clothes I laid out on the dresser would stomp into the room and be like, “Where’s this little brother I’ve been hearing so much about?”

This last baby is different. His spot as the youngest will not be challenged overnight. Just the other day I was wondering when he would walk. But now, the baby is completely unrecognizable. Let’s examine the facts, shall we?

  • He’s big. People almost always do a double take when I tell them he is nineteen months old. “But…he’s so big!” they exclaim. Measuring in at the 75 percentile on the height charts, he is actually the shortest one of our “big three”. His clothing size is now followed by a T instead of an MOS; he is solid and clomps around with his chest out like he runs the place. Because he does, in fact, run the place.

  • He communicates. He’s not speaking in full sentences, but he has mastered all the important words he needs to get through a day. When begging, he can address me clearly as “Mommy!” in case it is unclear who he needs to make real his every desire. He’s also proficient at pointing, and excels at throwing a fit near the area he needs assistance with.

  • He tells jokes. Just this morning the boys taught him to lean over, make a rude noise with his mouth, and run away yelling “Poop! Poop!” Which, judging the reactions from the audience, is completely hysterical.

  • He runs. Everywhere. He is not content on walking, though he will settle for being carried when the mood strikes him. Otherwise, his stubby little legs are always a blur of motion.

  • He’s smart. He knows how to work every television, open every baby lock, and basically has complete command of everything in the house from three feet to the floor. Which doesn’t seem impressive, but the list is rather extensive, including the fridge, oven, all toilets, all electrical outlets and plugs, the computer, and too many drawers , cabinets and windows to count. He also put it together that stacking items and climbing them can give him a momentary vertical advantage, thus allowing him a brief encounter with a few light switches and a bathroom sink.

And yet, he’s still the baby. He refuses to take two consecutive drinks from a cup, and the way he rubs his eyelashes while drinking a bottle is about the most adorable thing I’ve seen in three decades on this great earth. He will answer to any name when said in a singsong voice, and he accepts all forms of love, kisses and adoration. In conclusion, even if he grows to be the biggest person in this house, he will forever be my baby.

And there’s just something about the baby.

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