My Monkey

Monkey

There is something sweet and slightly painful about the babyhood of my second child. Maybe it’s that my memory of my first baby is slightly foggy and coloured by my knowledge of him as a toddler; maybe it’s that Monkey will likely be our last baby. I don’t remember the same sense of mine with Bean as I have with Monkey. Maybe it’s that I’ve learned to savour it, because as he grows he will not be just mine anymore. Maybe it’s that I’m beginning to know firsthand what all the elderly ladies who stop me in the grocery store say – it goes by so fast.

Monkey’s smiles are still mostly for me. He looks into my eyes and his face lights up. I imitate his sounds and he chuckles. I enter the room and he looks for me. I sit down on the floor and he crawls over to me. At 8 months old, he is still mine. And I am selfish. I don’t want to share him, yet.

His older brother is a part of the world. He has friends. He smiles and laughs and talks to other people. Bean is his own little person, and it is wonderful and beautiful to see him developing relationships and friendships and opinions and independence. But Monkey is still mine. I am his world. He is my baby. He fits on my hip; he belongs under my chin. His little body was so recently a part of mine, and our bond is still physical.

What is it that changes this bond? It loosens and stretches without us being conscious of it, exactly. As our babies grow up and grow in independence, they grow away from us, bit by bit. Bean still needs me, and will always need me in some way, I hope. We will always be bonded, but nothing is the same as the elemental, physical bond of a mother and baby.

As I gaze into my Monkey’s sweet, smiling face and open, trusting eyes, I am struck by the gift that babyhood is. I am privileged to hold and nurture and protect a life that is pure and innocent. There is nothing dishonest in a baby – his smiles mean happiness, and his cries mean sadness, discomfort, or need. There is no guile, only instinct. And this baby stage is so fleeting.

So I will hold onto my Monkey for as long as I can. One day I will have to share him, I know. As his small world expands day by day, I will explore it with him. Gradually my tight hold will loosen, and one day I will let him go. But not just yet. For now, he is still mine.

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9 thoughts on “My Monkey

  1. It is so bittersweet – being so amazed and excited to see them grow and become more self reliant and a part of the world. And recognizing how fleeting their babyhood is. I had no idea before becoming a mother.

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    • I think it’s one of those things you swear you’ll never say, and then before you know it you’re an old lady yourself, seeing frazzled parents at the grocery store with their adorable kidlets and it makes you all squishy inside with the memory of your own adorable kidlets who are now grown with their own adorable kidlets and you would give anything just to go back for a little while to savour the moments you didn’t savour when you were in the thick of it. Because probably when you’re an old lady, your memory is clouded and fuzzy around the edges, and you remember mostly the good stuff, and if you were to get your wish to have your kids little again, you would quickly take it back and be glad they’re grown. Until you see another adorable kidlet in the grocery store, that is, and remark wistfully to the mother that “they grow up so fast.”

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      • So true. I will try hard not to do that. But you’re so right. I try to savor it while it lasts, because already time has flown. Then again, I remember potty training and think, nah! Haha. But a lot of the other stuff would be great to have back.

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  2. I try to never say to myself or anyone else that time goes so fast, but it really does. Sometimes I feel like you don’t “stop and smell the roses” as much with the second child as you do with the first, but it’s still important to. I regret having to go back to work so soon after my second because I feel like she grew up in the blink of an eye.

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    • I guess cliches are cliches for a reason. Time really does go so fast. Before I had kids, I kind of doubted the parents who would say it seemed like yesterday their teenagers were babies, but now I totally get it. Going back to work is tough… I still have three months to go, but I know it will come way too soon.

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  3. So well said! I know exactly how you feel. My second is 18 months and it has FLOWN by. I still call him “Baby” all the time. I just can’t face the facts that he is so big now.

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