We’ve had a lot of changes in our house over the last few weeks. Our baby (actually 2 years and 6 months old) has started preschool and moved into a big girl bed (bye bye crib), and I’ve had some tearful days with these transitions.
About three weeks ago it really hit me, oh my goodness my baby is going to start Mother’s Morning Out two mornings a week. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but when you’re used to them being with you, it is! I found myself crying in my minivan and at home with Michael so sad that our baby is growing up!
Now I know that she is more than ready to go to preschool. She needs to develop her own friends, her own age and not just hang out with Rose and Walsh’s buddies. Plus, she is ready to be a little bit independent. She practically ran into the place on registration, and she told her teacher on the first day “I want homework.” (She sees her sibs doing homework every afternoon.)
I did tear up as I left her, and it’s weird being without her! (We haven’t been apart in 3 years, 3 months if you count gestation!)
On top of that transition, Miss Priss has decided she no longer wanted to sleep in her crib. She’s been yelling at us at night “No sleep in the cib! Hate the cib!” So we we made a cozy spot on her floor until we could drag the”big girl bed” out of the basement.
On Labor Day, Michael took down the crib for most likely the last time and brought the big girl bed out of the basement. I was in tears and took lots of photos! (The red bed was my mother’s bed as a toddler and is more than 60 years old. And no there’s no lead in the paint. That does make the transition a little less sad. My brother and I slept in the red bed and so have all three of mine.)
Meanwhile up in New York, my girlfriend is most likely crying her eyes out right now because her baby (5 years) starts kindergarten today! My girlfriend is heartbroken that her special time is “over” with her daughter. She keeps leaving very sad messages on her Facebook page looking for other mothers to explain to her how to cope with this change. This is her only child right now. They are hoping to adopt another child soon. She also wonders if part of the reason she’s not quite ready to separate is because she did adopt her daughter. (Do any other adoptive parents have insight into this? Did you have a harder time separating?)
I left her the message that my girlfriend had just given me while I was crying alone in my minivan. I told her we have to embrace and celebrate each stage of their little lives. And they’re growing independent and it’s a testament to how well we’ve reared them and how secure they feel that they are ready to separate from us.
It all makes sense logically, but a mother’s heart still hurts.
There is of course another way to handle all this for many moms – just get pregnant again! While crying on the couch one night I broached the subject with Michael. He told me if we had just started earlier then we probably could have had four. He thinks we’re just too old to start over again. (But if we had started earlier we wouldn’t have had the savings for me to stay home. There’s your trade-off.)
By the next morning, the reality of taking care of all the needs of all three kids set in, and I kind of got over that idea – not over the feeling of sadness but at least that idea.
However, one of my friends didn’t. Last year my friend’s second to youngest started kindergarten, her baby (then 2) started mother’s morning out two mornings a week. She also had a 5th and 3rd grader. She was so sad without a house full of children that she literally got pregnant that first week of school!
I told her I would have left that feeling ruminate a little bit before jumping in. (And how amazing is her fertility she could get pregnant that one week!)
Transitions are of course natural and will happen all through their lives whether it’s preschool, big school, college or even marriage. But how do you cope as your “baby” grows up?