I walked by a pair of young parents the other day. They were out with their infant baby in a stroller at a restaurant. The baby was fussing a bit. Parents tried to calm her down without success. The mother eventually picked up the baby, who instantly brightened up. They reminded me a lot of our little family. All of a sudden I was struck by how fast time passed. Where did all the time go? Plumster is going into third grade come this fall. Soon I will have to call her Lady Plum! The thing about babies is that they are so darn cute. They are physiologically built to evoke biophilia effect. Below are my top 5 things I miss about Baby Plum:
1. I could visit her whenever I wanted. Her childcare center boasted complete transparency. Parents may drop in and visit whenever they wished. For instance, I could drop in during lunch break so that I could nurse her instead of pumping at my desk. Sure, that might have only happened once or twice since really, since we barely had time to eat lunch during residency training. But just the knowledge that I CAN drop by anytime I wanted was enough to calm MY separation anxiety. These days she has important business to attend to such as going to school. If I want to see her, I have to check in through the principal’s office, go through security checks, and state my purpose for the visit. Somehow I doubt that her teachers would think my missing her is good enough reason to disrupt her classwork.
2. Her portability. Gone are the days when I can just pick her up in one arm when it’s time to leave. Ten minute warning, five minute warning, even one minute warning, and when it’s time to leave, “What? You never told me that! I WAAAANT to stay a little longer. Please?!”
3. Her undivided attention. I remember the days when all she wanted to do was smiling at me while being held. My arms used to get tired from holding her all morning. What was I thinking? She was so light! These days I could barely hold down to her for 5 seconds before she bounced off to read her books or water her plants.
4. Her unabahsed enthusiasm when she saw me. Plum used to get primal-hyperexcited when I came home. Her squeal and sheer delight! Her face would light up with a smile so bright that all my exhaustion vanished in an instant. Once she fell off the couch she was sitting on because she was trying to fly over into my open arms. Now she barely looks up from her books when I come in. Admittedly, our dog Zee does a pretty unabashed show of enthusiasm these days; but a dog is just not the same as a little person.
5. Her unbiased fashion sense. Dressing baby Plum used to be fairly simple. I shopped online for sale items, she wore anything I put on her and voila, we were out the door. These days I try to follow her logic, but either they change constantly or the logic has some unspoken bending rules that I don’t quite fully comprehend.
Thankfully, our soon-to-be Lady Plum still retains her infectious laughter and her silliness. I am grateful for her curiosity about the world, her unfailing loyalty to her family, her strong code of honor and justice, and her wonderful sense of humor.
The thing about babies is, is that they grow up all too fast. I smiled at the new mother now cooing with the baby in her arms. She returned with a warm smile. Her face was so bright and content and blissful that, that is exactly the thing about babies. And mothers.