Thursday, February 21, 2013


My daughter is starting to take her first steps.

My husband and I have been anticipating this development for some time. She's been pulling herself up to standing for a while now, and for weeks she's been standing unassisted and merrily cruising around from one piece of furniture to another. 

Like so many other events in my children's development (see first: PREGNANCY!) this has been one that I've spent months dreading only to then find myself insanely anxious for its arrival in the end. 

When my daughter first started rolling it occurred to me how utterly unprepared I was for her pending mobility. I kept trying to work out the dynamics of keeping track of three mobile kids under four, and it just didn't -- and still doesn't -- add up. As my mother (a veteran of three closely-spaced kids) once explained,

"The problem with three is that you are out of hands."

The rolling added a degree of difficulty, but at least it could be addressed with a strategically-placed pillow or distracting squeeze toy. Then came crawling, which added a new wrinkle to the equation, but could still be managed through thoughtful baby-gate placement.

As the specter of two-legged mobility loomed large, I was surprised to actually find myself looking forward to the end game.

See, as time has gone by, my tiny baby girl has broken the 20-pound barrier, and carrying her around everywhere has begun to threaten my long-term back health. I'm anxious for her to be able to get places without being picked up. I'm looking forward to dressing her in clothing that will not be immediately destroyed by her crawling about the yard. I'm ready for her to walk already!

And she's started. She's now officially taking six or seven definite franken-steps at a time. 

And it has filled me with hope.

...and also with an intense feeling of nostalgia.

Because I understand that our daughter's firsts are unique.

I am in my early 40's. My husband and I were amazingly fortunate to have three kids in rapid succession starting in our late 30's, but realistically we are not having any more.

When you have children as close together as ours things tend to blend together. It seems as if every time we turn around someone is doing something noteworthy. Our oldest is off to his first day of school! His brother has started to talk in full sentences! The baby is finally cutting a tooth!

It gets to feeling like an ongoing busy/happy blur.

But it has just started to occur to me that the final round of firsts is upon us, so I'm trying to savor them a little bit more with my not-so-little girl. 

I've already forgotten to keep a lock of hair from her first haircut, and I'm sure my daughter's baby book will suffer the multi-page gaps that are the fate of all third children. But as I watched her this morning raise herself to her full height and take those first toddering steps away from me, I took a moment to savor it --- knowing that it is another of our very last firsts.