Endings and Beginnings

Some things are over: Finn’s bout of what we think was Roseola virus, which brought fevers of over 104 and nearly a week of being house-bound, Finn’s crusty eye infection that cemented his eyelashes together in the morning, Mommy’s hellish end-of-quarter grading frenzy. To them, we say goodbye and good riddance.

To other things, we say hello and welcome: Mommy’s spring break vacation, lazy, cuddly, chatty mornings filled with funny-Finn-conversation, naps at noon for both of us. When Finn dozes off, I’ll be able to rest next to him if I like — for not only am I now at home throughout the day, but Finn is now sleeping rail-free in his new toddler bed!

The moment he smiled at me with his foot hooked over the edge of his crib rail and his entire body lifted up like a little gymnast, his crib days were over immediately. Although there wasn’t much time for sentimentality, we gathered up some of his closest friends and asked him to play a few ceremonial notes on his flute:

Then, within a couple of hours, my baby’s bed was GONE. Without it, the room barely resembled the nursery I’d spent so many hours planning, waiting, cradling, rocking, nursing, sitting, smiling, playing in. It was an unexpected shock. I felt a sudden sense of panic and immediate nostalgia… but then Finn climbed up onto the mattress all by himself and put his head down, and I had a new thought: Perhaps he’ll be excited to sleep in his new bed. Perhaps it’ll be easier to get him to sleep — and to stay asleep. Perhaps this will be another beginning for us — a life in which we can all get better ZZZs…

Or perhaps not. Some things may never end…

Heartbreaker

Finn ~

You’re seventeen months old, and already breaking hearts.

It’s no wonder: You have a smile that shatters all reserve, and big, bright eyes that catch the light.  You’re quick on your feet, a natural dancer with a talent for improvisation. You have a love for music, a diverse palate, and a skyrocketing vocabulary that’s making you quite the conversationalist. You enjoy art, and even know your colors — or at least the important ones, like “lellow,” “popo,” “gn,” and “boo.” You have an excellent memory, are hysterically funny, and love to give nice, wet kisses — when in the mood.

Here you are on a recent Saturday, playing hard-to-get with lovely, little miss Summer:

Shortly afterward, however, you had a weekend fling with vivacious little Marlowe, who was in town on a surprise visit from Connecticut:

So many lady-friends! In terms of heartbreaks, though, the real softie is, of course, Mommy. Since month eleven, you’ve been running around on your own, but it was just a few weeks ago that you became independent of me in a new way: after many months of breastfeeding and a very gradual weaning process, I stopped nursing. Although I believed we were both ready, I still feel the change, the loss.

This, I know, is the nature of things. Change is inevitable. But it still hurts. Yesterday, for no apparent reason, you suddenly decided you wanted Daddy instead of me. You ran after him and clutched his legs when he walked across the house. You cried “Dada!” when you woke out of  a deep sleep and needed comfort. For the first time since you came into my life, I felt a sense of separation. You didn’t NEED me.

Three days ago, you strung two words together on your own for the first time when you saw a picture of yourself and then turned to us and said, clear as day, “Baby Finn.” But your first two-word-phrase reveals a very exciting and slightly sad and laughably ironic truth: you are no baby. Every day I see a little boy taking shape in your face, your expressions, your actions, your words. As we sat and read together throughout the past month, I quickly went from asking “where’s the bat? Where’s the pumpkin? Where’s the flower?” to “what’s this?” — and then finally to “what do you see?” These days you need broader questions so that you can fill in the answers on your own.

It may seem strange that as you turn just seventeen months old, I’m thinking about how you’re growing older, how I’ve lost my baby boy. It’s true that I have many years of parenting ahead of me. I have so much to teach. But I also have so much to learn… about love and loss, about holding on and letting go, about me — and about you.

Just today you decided that “no” would be your new favorite word. “No,” you said when I asked if you wanted to eat. “No,” you said when we asked if you wanted a bath. “No,” you said when Daddy asked if you wanted to say “no.”

I have a feeling that you’ve got a lot to teach me. I’ll work on the learning part. Just don’t break my heart too much, Finch.