C is 22 months old now. I insist on continuing to refer to her as “my baby,” or “my one year old” because I am hesitant to let go of her infancy, which is coming to an end. Yes, two year olds (and even three and four year olds) are still babies in many ways, but they are not infants. I know my issue with admitting that she’s growing beyond true babyhood comes from the fact that she’s likely to be my last. We haven’t entirely abandoned the idea of managing to produce another offspring, but given my recent obstetrical history, combined with my age (41), as well as how hard I am working at my job these days, that’s looking less likely as time goes by. And I have some major regrets about that; I would really like to have another baby. But biology + economy make for a pretty powerful double whammy.
So yes, I cling to the vestiges of C’s infancy. Having said that, however, I really do love, love, love toddlers and preschoolers. It’s a favorite childhood stage of mine. I adore their fat, juicy, half-baby/half-kid bodies, and the ridiculous-yet-profound things they say. I am awed by their unbridled enthusiasm and confidence, and I revel in the way they unabashedly believe in things like fairies, Frances the talking badger, and Elmo. We all see more and more of that with C every day. She’s our household comedy act, keeping her older siblings in frequent stitches with her absurd utterances. And she talks A LOT. She’s not nearly as outgoing as her same-age cousin, NC, who really should have her own variety show. But with people she knows, Miss C is a chatterbox extraordinaire.
Soon, we need to start scouting out part-time nursery school options for her. NC already goes two half days each week to the wonderful nursery school that her own siblings, as well as my 11 year old attended. NC loves it. C, on the other hand, with her more reserved personality, isn’t quite ready to jump into the classroom yet, but I think she might be in the fall. I wish she could go to the same nursery school as NC, but job schedules and locations for Jon and me make that unlikely. We have to find something near Jon’s office (since he takes her to work most days, where his mom cares for her at the office – a family business), and unfortunately, the nursery school pickins appear to be mighty slim in that small town 30 miles from where we live, and where I work. So I am not sure what we’ll do. I also hate the idea of her nursery school being so far away from my own office that I could never be the one to pick her up, or be “snack mom” or meet her little friends… It’s yet another working mama conundrum.
Anyway, here, are some recent photos of C, the demi-toddler. As my grandmother says of children this age, “that baby’s about all used up!”
PS: Check out my essay in Babble today on the “Cult of the Bad Mother”
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