I grew up the oldest of three. It as commonly stated in my house
that the youngest was "spoiled rotten, babied" and "got away with
everything." Since many of my classmates growing up were also
firstborns I had lots of data to back up this claim: the youngest
in the family was spoiled and babied. I swore that would not be the
case with my own children.
Then we had our second child, and for four years she was our
baby. In fact we feared she would remain forever our baby after our
son died at 18 weeks. Seeing myself baby her was one of the things
that pulled me out of my grief and depression and helped
me try again. She was too old to be babied and I knew it.
When we had our rainbow baby (another girl) I knew she would be
babied. I was so grateful to have her, to have this second chance I
never wanted to put her down, never wanted to let her cry. Then she
grew up. She became an unruly toddler who reminded us why we had
rules and were strict.
I realized the biggest reason the baby ends up appearing to "get
away" with everything is because we are so dang tired and busy
trying to do everything we need to do for everyone that some of
their misbehavior is just plain overlooked. I started to realize
that my parents didn't let my sister have the easy way out; they
were just too dang tired after me to go through it all again. They
let things slide.
After another loss, we now find ourselves with our forever baby,
the one that will forever be the youngest. He is another rainbow,
filling empty arms we worried would stay empty. He is loved
immensely and yes, he is spoiled. I tell myself you can't spoil a
baby as I lay down beside him so he can fall asleep, a little hand
gently resting on my cheek. You can't spoil a baby I tell myself as
I eat dinner one handed while bouncing him on my knee.
I believe it too, that you can't spoil a baby, but he won't be a
baby much longer and you can spoil toddlers. I realize that every
milestone he hits is the last for me. The last first tooth, the
last first step, the last baby onesie. There will be no more tiny
baby snuggles, no more sweet baby giggles. As he grows up and moves
out of these stages I realize how close I am coming to my next
stage, to being a mom of only big kids. Kids that go to school,
dress themselves and don't' rely on mommy for everything.
So I understand now how it is that babies in the family end up,
well, being babied. It has less to do with them and more to do with
the mothers. Accepting that I will have no more babies is
acknowledging my own mortality. It's easier to snuggle a little
more and allow him to be a baby just a little bit longer than to
face my own future and what might be next.
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels. She chronicles the sticky bits of motherhood at Peanut Butter in my Hair.
See more of Melissa's stories here.
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