Monday, March 01, 2010

firsts and lasts

When I had my first child, I recorded lots of "firsts."

First bath

First poop in the bath

First car ride

First Sunday dress

First snow

First Christmas

First puke down my cleavage

First mullet

Those were beautiful days....

I was bound and determined to take just as many photos and write down all the milestones with my second child. I'm a second born myself and it was important to me. I took tons of photos of Mandy's early weeks and months -- even more than I imagined because instead of one child being cute, there were two. I couldn't resist! Although there are many pictures, not as many "firsts" were written down or even acknowledged.

The "firsts" just aren't as monumental the second time around. And not because the second baby isn't just as important. I think it is because the first "firsts" were just as much for the parents as for the child. Parenting for the first time is really frightening. The world is full of unknowns. Each milestone is one for the baby and also one for first time parents. By the second child, parents have a bit of experience and are more excited about the greater accomplishment of getting the whole family out the door, into the car, and being productive, rather than "baby's first grocery trip." I think it is a normal progression.

With my third child, I rarely think in terms of "firsts." He is growing so fast that just when I get one thing figured out, he changes.


We were at the park yesterday enjoying a balmy 50 degree day. Getting out of the house feels so good sometimes. Jeff put Remi into one of the swings and said, "Hey, it's his first time in the swing." In fact, it was Remi's first time at the park. First time in a swing. And should have been his last time wearing that too-small hat. *Note: restock diaper bag with clothing and diapers that actually fit the baby.*


As with most babies, the stimulation of being outside, plus the movement of the swing, was too much competition for his usually ready smile.


Even his Daddy's teasing didn't bring about a smile.


But Remi sat there just fine, swinging back and forth, back and forth. Watching him placidly sit there, in conmparison with his active older sibling, had me thinking not of "firsts," but of "lasts." It seems like just days ago that Emma was my first baby. Now she's my tall, skinny five year old who can crack eggs like a pro and doesn't need to nap. And Mandy was a baby only 2 years ago, but now her mantra is "I do it" and catching up with her sister by saying, "Me too, me too!" Where did those babies go? Emma doesn't fit in those baby swings any more. Mandy would rather sit on a big swing and they both run off looking for taller slides and higher rock walls.

This poem makes me all weepy:

"Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts.

First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you'll move away and leave me to your past,
And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts...

The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips.

The last time I lifted you
and held you on my hip...

Our last adventure to the park,
Your final mid day nap.

The last time when you wore
your faded baseball cap...

I never said good-bye
to all your yesterdays long past

So what about tomorrow--
Will I recognize your last?

...I've watched you grow up and
barely noticed seasons as they passed.

If I could freeze the hands of time
I'd hold on to your lasts...

For come some bright fall morning,
you'll be going far a way.

College life will beckon you
in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.

One last time to understand
just how much you'll be missed.

I'll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed."

-- By Karen Kingsburry (from the book, Let Me Hold You Longer)



Grace said...

I may be just very tired, but you got tears out of me!!! Thanks for the reminder. Off to kiss some babes!

Dan & Hillary said...

... and then there'll be a first wedding and a first grandbaby:-) We should listen to the grandparents that tell us this time will pass all too quickly...

Anonymous said...

Wow...that poem is sad. But those pics of Remi are absolutely adorable. Those cheeks look so kissable!

Kellie said...

I was pretty good about recording "firsts" for Grace. Not so much for Ethan (I had to search my blog to get the date of his first tooth for his baby book...7 months after the fact and the only tooth that got recorded!). I try and make up for it in other ways, and he certainly has more baby photos then Grace did. As excited as I am about Grace's (and mine by extension) firsts I am sad to watch my youngest leave the baby stages. Knowing that he's my last baby makes it harder to let him "be big". And boy does he want to "be big". "Ethan do it" is a very common phrase in this household.

Shawna said...

Wow, I need to remember to read your blog at home and NOT at work! People are going to walk by and wonder why I am crying at work.

Being the mom on an "only" makes these moments even more precious for me. Like you said the "firsts" are not only the child's but the parent's 'firsts'. So are the lasts in many respects.

I have documented a few of our lasts, the last time she said "Upids down" for upside down, the last outfit I will every be able to buy at Baby's R Us and the last pack of diapers!

Thank you for letting us in on your journey, I truly enjoy it.

Jaic n Stacy Coleman said...

When you say a poem makes you weepy, knowing that I am pregnant and hormonal, I shouldn't read it! Here comes life with baby number 2.
I also am a second(and middle!) child and don't want to leave out any important evens with my second.

Sherri said...

Ahh!! the lasts- we don't usually even know when they happen- looking at Remi's kissable cheeks reminds me of how I loved kissing my babies' little cheeks and when was the last time- one day they are big kids and just don't like to be kissed anymore- thank goodness for the grands- and no wonder the Great's are so thrilled with another round (and its also the answer to the question of strangers' stares and comments- they are just taking a quick trip down memory lane)

Sara said...

Wonderful poem. Oddly enough, I think about the lasts regularly (maybe my personality type?). I'm constantly thinking about how quickly my children are growing, how precious these moments are, and how I never want to forget them. I frequently just stop and cuddle with them, knowing that someday they will be too old to cuddle and cover with kisses. My heart breaks just thinking about my precious babies all grown up...they better give me a bunch of grandchildren!