I keep catching myself in iPhoto lately, browsing photos and videos from the past four years. Taking screenshots and texting them to my husband, writing things like “remember this baby?” and “SO LONG AGO!”
Speaking from experience, four years is enough time for full transformations and personal evolutions — a high school career, a college degree, etc.
And enough time to grow into childhood, apparently, leaving any trace of “baby” in the past (and in your iPhoto roll).
Without those videos, I’d forget the sound of his beginning babble and the first real belly laugh. I’d forget the way his hands looked when he signed for “more,” and I’d forget those cute mispronunciations that I swore I’d remember forever.
I have a hard time remembering the details.
Hasn’t he always spoken in sentences? Haven’t his limbs always been lanky?
And, in a lot of ways, life has gotten easier. There’s no one feeding from my body or waking up throughout the night or pooping in his pants. I can have a conversation with my friend without those panicked one-eye-on-the-toddler interruptions. I can shower in peace, knowing he can safely watch a movie or play with his toys. I can reason with him, enjoy a conversation with him, hang out with him.
So I can see why people have kids close in age — before they forget. Because once you pass that threshold, it’s easy to forget how we could spend hours rocking a teething baby, and waking up every two hours, and changing diaper blowouts, and deciphering cries — all with a smile. I loved the baby years — but now that I have a kid, it’s easy to forget why.
Maybe it’s time I remember again. Because there has to be a reason why my heart pangs for a wide-eyed toddler with food-caked cheeks and baby-fine hair.
Until then, I’ll keep filling up iPhoto with four-year-old expressions and four-year-old songs and his four-year-old accent.
Because, as impossible as it seems, one day I’ll forget.