Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Time marches on

My baby is learning how to crawl.

Here today, off to stick my fingers in the outlets tomorrow!

She is in that wondrous stage where she pushes up onto all fours and desperately reaches and lunges toward whatever it is she's after. Already she can twist and roll and stretch to grab things I thought well beyond her reach. Already I lay her down on her back for a nap and later look in the monitor to see her sitting in her crib.

She has an agenda. She has things she wants to do. She doesn't really care if those things are the same things that I want.

This stage is so exciting to watch. I really want her to start crawling because I want her to be successful. She wants to crawl and I want her to be happy. I am excited to watch my kids tear around the house together.

But we are not planning to have more kids. Once she starts crawling there will be no non-mobile babies in our family. We'll be done with this stage in our lives. As happy as I am that we are where we are, the realization that it will be over soon puts a lump in my throat. Turns out time only moves in one direction. It too has an agenda, and doesn't care if its plans coincide with mine.


My son is learning to read.

He is still far away from actually reading, in the place where sits and looks at books, turning the pages while reciting the text he has memorized. If he wakes up early he gets out of bed, turns on the light, and piles all of the books from his small bookshelf onto his bed. This morning I turned on the monitor to see him sitting cross-legged on the pillow, holding his raggedy stuffed blue elephant and reciting "Fire Fire said Mrs. Maguire." He constantly asks us to read books to him, and corrects us if we make a mistake. He also corrects us if we don't make a mistake but he thinks it would be fun to correct us.

I want him to read because he is working on it and I want him to be successful. He wants to read, and I want him to be happy. I want him to read because I love reading and I want him to enjoy it as well. I want him to read so he can entertain himself in a way that doesn't involve noise and destruction. I want him to read to his little sister.

I can't believe that he is working on this already. That before I know it he won't need me to read to him. That soon he will chose for himself what he's going to read. Where he will learn things before I do and he'll be the one to tell me about them.

What a delightful and exciting time this will be for him. What a mind-blowing role adjustment this will be for me.


I am so proud of my children. They are learning the skills they need to be independent in exactly the way that millions of other children are learning them. I am amazed by them, by how clever and determined they are, by how hard they are working and how much they are learning. I am sure millions of other parents are thinking exactly the same thing.

How is it that our hearts don't explode simultaneously?

We are living in such a precarious moment. Our children are as they are today, only today. Tomorrow they will have learned some new skill, made some new connection, moved one step (or one scoot) further away from us and closer to the people they are going to be.

Because that's the point, right? We are trying to raise reasonably well-adjusted, self-sufficient children who will eventually leave us?

Argh. My heart hurts.

I am so filled with love for the present and excitement for the future and sentimentality for the past and this moment, right here and now, is just too short to contain it all.

The experience of parenting, of loving your children and watching them grow, is big. Really big. Way too big for the speed at which time passes.


  1. I love the crawling stage. It's a great time because they can explore their independence and curiosity without constantly getting in trouble. It's the climbing phase about a year later which always feels like an accident waiting to happen!

  2. You really captured the combination of sadness and excitement as they move from one stage to the next!