Tonight at 8:00 I will put my baby to bed. At 9:10 I will probably pause for a moment and remember how exactly 1 year ago at this time my water broke. At 1:20 AM tomorrow I HOPE I'll be asleep, but if I have the misfortune to be awake, I'll remember how exactly 1 year ago Charlotte said her first loud hello to the world. And when Charlotte wakes up tomorrow morning, she won't be my baby anymore, she'll officially be my toddler! We will have to remember to call her "Toddler Charlotte" instead of "Baby Charlotte", which we still often say. We'll just ignore the fact that she has been toddling for a couple weeks already.
Once again, I find myself in the odd position of facing my child's milestone with pride, anticipation and excitement, but barely any of the nostalgia that I feel like I SHOULD be feeling. I hear and see other moms moaning that their baby is growing up, wondering where their tiny newborn went each time their child starts doing something new. And here I am, with my VERY LAST BABY about to turn 1, and I say bring it on! I thought the fact that Charlotte is my last would make me treasure every minute of her babyhood, but really my thoughts have been more along the lines of "I am ALMOST finished with having to get up with a baby every night for the rest of my life! Yay!" or "Only another year or so of diapers! Fantastic!". I was much more freaked about Emily hitting all her milestones than I have been about Charlotte, which I find strange since with Emily I knew I would be doing it all at least one more time.
When my kids are babies, they are adorable and snuggly and I love them. But they also scream for hours without being able to tell me why. They wake up 4 times a night. They teethe. They ooze drool and spit-up. They suck all my energy out through my boobs. Did I mention they scream and cry a lot?
Once they hit the toddler years, they learn to walk, communicate, sleep reliably, use the toilet, tell you WHY they're crying, put on their own shoes, and they grow a personality. Eventually you can even reason with them! PLUS they're still adorable and snuggly and I still love them. I love getting to know who they are as they become their own person. There are tantrums and battles of will, but I will happily take those for a good night's sleep and enough independence to leave them watching a show while I take a shower. Or maybe I'm just saying that because Emily is in a good behavior phase.
It's funny to me that I'm not a baby person. Even before Will and I were married, I couldn't wait to have a sweet little baby to cuddle. It wasn't until shortly before we decided to have Emily that I gave much thought to the fact that my babies would grow into kids, and decided that yeah, kids would be kinda cool too. That's when I realized I was ready to have actual kids, and was not just dreaming about the idea of a baby. Now, after having had 2 babies, I realize that I'm just too selfish to really enjoy having a baby.
So I face Charlotte's impending birthday with nothing but happiness. To me it means we're mostly through the tough part. I've heard bad things about the teenage years, but so far with Emily things have only gotten better as she's gotten older so I am very much looking forward to Charlotte's second year and beyond.