-Sung to the tune of the Britney Spears classic, ‘I’m not a girl not yet a woman’-
While Britney was whining about her inner turmoil at being trapped between a million dollar recording contract and her desire to be with multiple movie and pop stars simultaneously, I feel my one year old has a far more serious axe to grind.
At each juncture in the day, you can see the scales shift between babydom and toddlerhood. This means that while I am certainly enjoying the pros of both, I am also saddled with the painful cons.
This appears to be true in every aspect of his life. Eg: Food. My toddler now eats anything and everything. I don’t have to avoid certain foods, I can relax on the salt and sugar content in what I feed him, (as much as we ever should) and he is striving for independence in eating and feeding himself.
However, my baby cannot tell me what meal he fancies that day, or why he is throwing pieces of lunch from his highchair with anger. He has no words to let me know when he wants a break, or a drink, or even that he’s had enough. While my toddler is desperate to hold and use the fork, my baby has very little clue how to get the food onto it in the first place, or keep it there once it’s loaded.
Sleep. My baby is no longer such a baby that he wakes in the night. But he is enough of a toddler that he has dropped to one (sometimes painfully short) sleep during the day. Enough of a baby that he wont go to sleep if he is 10 minutes too tired for his nap, and will fall asleep if I accidently push him too long in the buggy. Enough of a toddler that he wont automatically fall asleep in the buggy just because it’s the right time / I’m shaking it up and down.
Playing. My baby cant roll a ball towards me, he cant play kitchen with me, he cant build a tower which is more than 3 blocks tall (an impressive feat nonetheless). He wont sit still for a whole story, and he has no idea where the jigsaw pieces go, other than his mouth. However, my toddler is not interested in shiny lights and soft music, he wont sit happily in a bouncy chair or any kind of stationary toy, and he isnt entertained endlessly by silly faces or strange noises.
I could go on, but you get the point. I suppose this stage is different for every baby, and every mother probably deals with it differently. For me, I find it hard not to find the transition kind of sad. I’m not necessarily enjoying the new stages, because they come so slowly and are frustrating until they are complete, at which point they are no longer a novelty. And at the same time, it’s hard saying goodbye to each part of your child that made him a baby, and therefore that much more dependent on you. I am missing my baby, and yet at the same time hoping for a more competent and interactive toddler.
But as she so often does, Britney has the right answer. 😉 “All I need is time … while I’m in between.” It wont last forever. I should enjoy all these stages, the frustrating in between ones just as much, because before I can blink, let alone a toddler, I’ll be wondering how my newborn baby became a teenager.