Sunday, July 22, 2018

Babying my baby

As my children get older I realize that there is a lot of truth to the whole "birth order" thing. Sierra, the first born, is responsible, reliable, and very cautious (thank goodness now that she is behind the wheel!). We are probably the toughest on her out of all of the kids... for better or worse. Even though I am aware of and acknowledge this phenomenon it still exists. Laurel, the middle child, generally is the most low-key, fly under the radar kid. When she was a toddler, she'd literally play in the corner of the room with her toys, solo, for hours. Granted, she is 13 now and since the middle school years started the dynamic has changed a bit. Typically, though, she doesn't get in trouble often and when one of her sisters is in trouble she tries to be the peaceful presence. Another middle child fun fact that Laurel aligns with... she is the biggest saver of money in our house. She may even be better at it than her dad or me! Cadence, our baby, hits all of the youngest child standards. She's fun loving, outgoing, and likes to be the center of attention (when she's comfortable). Interestingly, her love of the spotlight seemed ingrained in her from the very beginning. (On day 3 of being with us she finally opened up when we laughed at something silly that she did... but that's a whole other post!)

The older girls, in typical sibling fashion, are often complaining that we "baby" Cadence too much. I don't put up much of a fight when they say this because I do realize that we baby her a lot more than the other two. The other night I came home from work and Cadence had been sent to bed, but was lying there crying. She said that she couldn't go to sleep until I sang her the song. "You are my Sunshine" has been the bedtime lullaby for all of them. I was a bit confused at her tears and strong need for the song since I don't sing to her every night. But that night I laid down next to her and held her and sang "You are my Sunshine" a couple of times. Then it struck me... I baby her because she will let me. Cadence will let me give her endless hugs and cuddle. She asks me to sing her songs. She will even let me wrap her up and rock her if we are being silly. Sierra and Laurel are 15 and 13 years old. They are the antithesis of wanting to be babied. Usually they will still let me hug and kiss them, but that often depends on the specific mood of the moment! Once in a blue moon they will come lie on the bed when I sing "You are my Sunshine" or read a book to Cadence, but not on the daily. They used to let me baby them. It seems like it was just last week that I babied them. I miss being able to baby them. I miss being able to make feel happy and comforted with a cuddle and a lullaby. I miss being able to ease their lives just by my presence.

To make it harder, I never knew when it was going to end. What moment was it? When was the last time that Sierra asked me to sing her a song before bed? When was the last time that Laurel asked me to carry her upstairs? I don't think I knew that it would be the last. Without ceremony it just was. At some point time had passed and I realized that it hadn't happened in a while. Cadence is 9 years old now. She is going in to 4th grade. She has two more years of elementary school. I am fully aware of the shifts that happen when girls go to middle school. Hormones and stress and drama, oh my! Tick tock. My days of babying my baby are coming to a close and will be here before I know it. Before I'm ready for it. So, yes, my dear oldest and middle children, I will baby my baby for as long as I can.

Babying my "bigs" when they were little

That sweet spot when I could baby all of them

Alfie loves to be babied!

She's almost as big as me... but she still loves to cuddle!

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