Little Babies Everywhere

By Beck

I held a friend’s newborn baby yesterday and The Baby hovered nearby, half sweet-hearted (gently stroking the baby’s ears and fingers), half jealous (getting a little TOO enthusiastic in her ear-and-finger stroking) and I was amused by how automatic it all was to me – the calm hand guiding The Baby, the feel of the sweet weight in my arms… I could look after babies forever OR SO MY BODY TELLS ME. *cue the eerie music here*

That drive to HAVE MORE BABIES is a strange thing, isn’t it? I have such a charming combination of high risk pregnancies + severe post-partum complications that my doctor actually paled when I brought up the whole MORE BABIES things a few month ago. “Becky, I’m going to be honest,” she said. “I find the idea of you being pregnant again really scary.” And intellectually, I’m on the same page – I remember the months of bedrest, the post-baby complications, and the medical hell we went through with The Baby, and really I’m pretty happy with the three I have, but there’s still that low animal hum all the time, this radio station set to BABY.

My Baby’s new hobby is to sit at the computer pecking out words – with me sitting in a chair nearby, absent-mindedly spelling for her. “Mama, how do I spell “dinosaur”?” she asks, and I spell out D…I…N….. And this is just one of the many, many ways that you can tell she’s not actually anything LIKE a baby anymore, this pint-sized firecracker, this clever little girl. It was funny to hold an actual newborn in my arms and watch her with that uniquely maternal type of bemused worry as she hovered over the actual baby, full of tenderness and innocent malice.

“She would be such a funny big sister!” I thought to myself and then – this is literally true, oh cruel reality – we went home and I packed away some actual baby clothes that had gotten mixed in with the size 3-4 hand-me-downs we’d just unpacked on the weekend, putting away little clothing that no child of mine will ever wear again.

I’m always happy to hold babies – especially dark haired babies with round cheeks and thoughtful eyes, babies that remind me of my own children who now bound around the house, children who kiss me quickly goodbye before dashing off to school, off, children who once were black-haired babies sleeping, soft little animals in my arms. I’ve often imagined being able to bottle one day a year with my kids, just one nice, everyday sort of day and then someday, when I’m old, I could take down a bottle and step back – just for a few minutes – into my oldest child’s golden haired preschool years, my son’s constant toddler chatter around the house, my Baby an actual baby sleeping in my arms. Thank God we can’t, though, because the idea is bittersweet enough to just break my heart.

Children grow up. One baby will eventually be your last baby. You have no way of knowing how sad this is, I guess, until you hold your baby in your arms and realize that even at that moment, time is fleeting away.

Beck blogs at Frog And Toad Are Still Friends.

32 Responses to Little Babies Everywhere
  1. Stephanie
    February 26, 2009 | 10:38 am

    To bottle up just one day would be awesome.


  2. Bon
    February 26, 2009 | 10:49 am

    i so hear you, on that low animal hum, the radio station i simply HAVE to turn off for all the same reasons as you, but that still catches my ear.

    i’ve been living that LAST BABY sentimentality since the day we brought this one home. except a few times during the colic. but even then.

  3. janet
    February 26, 2009 | 10:52 am

    I wish, how I wish, a time capsule like you describe was doable.

  4. His GIrl Amber
    February 26, 2009 | 11:02 am

    Even though I am not even remotely on the same frequency as you are in the baby department… (when I look at small babies I silently rejoice that I am all done because I love my children being older and more independent) I still find that there are things I miss, that I’ve forgotten already and that makes me sad…. wishing I could save some of the (pleasant) smells, sounds, and feelings for those days of yore.

  5. Nowheymama
    February 26, 2009 | 11:04 am

    My seven-year old was asking just yesterday when we are going to have another baby. The low animal hum starts early. 🙂

  6. mom24
    February 26, 2009 | 11:40 am

    I have no advice, but then, I know you’re not asking for any. Lots of sympathy and even empathy. I ache for another baby as well. I know we can’t, we really can’t afford it for one, but the longing is still a palpable ache that sometimes I think will always hurt. {{{hugs}}}

  7. Tracy
    February 26, 2009 | 11:42 am

    Oh Beck,
    I know just how you feel. Really and truly. I so wish I could have more babies. One every three or four years for the rest of my life would be perfect!

  8. Kyla
    February 26, 2009 | 12:06 pm

    I think we’re done, but every once in a while I get that tinge, too. I don’t know that you’re ever immune.

  9. Petula
    February 26, 2009 | 12:29 pm

    What a wonderful post. I was recently telling someone how the maternal longing never passes… it’s something I have come to terms with even though I’ve had my tubes tied. I actually never want to be pregnant again or have another baby (I have four), but I do have that longing. I held a young baby not too long ago and I was awe struck, my body started telling me how nice it would be to have another infant and my mind screamed NOOOOO! LOL.

    I am glad to use my maternal nature to help raise a village as I raise my own (ages 1, 4, 5 and 17) and someday I hope to care for children who don’t have parents or a home. For now I am content with the occasional longing for another infant ’cause in a minute my toddler will run by screaming as the middle two chase her all the while I try to focus on what my teenager is saying. 😀

  10. Kendra
    February 26, 2009 | 12:33 pm

    I have 4 babies.(Although none of them are babies anymore oldest is 14 and youngest is 5) I know we are done but every once in a while I think how about another. You definately brought tears to my eyes making me remember them as babies and now I just want to bring them home from school and hug them all. Everyday is filled with lots of joy but a little bit of sadness as another day goes by and soon they will be all grown up.

  11. becky
    February 26, 2009 | 1:39 pm

    Oh, this one is so so good, Beck. I just don’t have words to describe how really bittersweet this is for me.

    I held a 5 lb baby the other day. He was a premie, 7 weeks old, and had weighed a mere 4 lbs when he was born. He was so darling and so tiny, and so much like my own sweet smelling boys when they were born, just a little smaller than they were. I was just so in heaven with him in my arms.

    I love the way you can make my thoughts come alive, even when you don’t know it.


  12. christine
    February 26, 2009 | 3:19 pm

    i help two newborn babies yesterday–TWO! it hurt a little. just a bit.

  13. Minnesotamom
    February 26, 2009 | 3:46 pm

    I am ready for Next Baby NOW. But Husband, bless his two-years-younger-than-mine heart, wants to “wait.” Indefinitely, it seems. I keep telling myself to have patience, but this body of mine, it is not going to wait forever. I have a feeling it will manufacture a baby if he continues to refuse. Reproducing an offspring asexually might be quite odd…hey, there’s a little me budding off my right arm! Hi, Little Me! Weird.

  14. Candace
    February 26, 2009 | 4:54 pm

    I sometimes get that feeling about how another baby would be awesome but then I shock myself back into reality when I think about the pregnancy(i had the world’s easiest pregnancy)and feeling big as a house(i only gained 30lbs), sleepless nights. I like that my almost 3 year old is independant now because I really find babies kind of boring until they start interacting with you. Did I just say that? I like toddlerhood so much better. My husband and I are young we still have time to change our mind but most likely our son who is the most awesome kid will be be an only child.

  15. Carrie of Ceaseless Praises
    February 26, 2009 | 5:07 pm

    Wow- what a great post! I LOVE the idea of bottling one day a year!!! Oh, so precious!

  16. Heather
    February 26, 2009 | 5:49 pm

    I feel this, even as I hold my baby. I suppose I’ll always have those little twinges.

  17. bea
    February 26, 2009 | 6:29 pm

    I don’t want another baby at all. Not really, and not pretend. But the baby Pensieve? I want that for sure.

  18. Kat
    February 26, 2009 | 6:32 pm

    Why? Why are you doing this to me? I am sappy enough these days.

    I am now pregnant with my last baby. The hubs will be at his max limit. I on the other hand will never be able to say “enough”. I know I will always want more children (so it is actually probably a good thing he does have a limit).

    The thing I am wondering about is: Is it better to know that it is your last baby so that you can cherish every single moment, though with a fair amount of melancoly the whole time? Or is it better to be caught off guard, as in, “Oh. That was my last baby!”, and then wonder where the hell the time went. Hmmm.
    Both sound terribly painful.

  19. Kelly
    February 26, 2009 | 7:13 pm

    Sometimes, when I’m putting Teyla to bed, I’ll sit and watch the screensaver on my computer as it scrolls through pictures saved on my hard drive.

    “There’s Connor on his first birthday. There’s Natalie swimming last summer. There’s Teyla pulling a knife out of the dishwasher. There’s Connor showing off the turtle he caught with his bare hands. There’s Natalie, on her first day of school.”

    And the bittersweetness threatens to flood my whole soul.

    (We’re hoping to have one more, so I’m trying to ignore your point that someday, there will be no more babies. Because that makes me want to weep.)

  20. Heather of the EO
    February 26, 2009 | 8:20 pm

    If I had complete control, I would be making babies into my nineties. And that wouldn’t be so good.

    I’m sorry you have health stuff in your way, that’s an extra hard thing, not being able to control it and wanting a baby.

    But it’s also a beautiful thing that you love the children you have the way you do. It’s not as common as one may think. You’re an amazing mom, it’s written all over your posts.

  21. Omaha Mama
    February 26, 2009 | 8:49 pm

    “Radio station set to baby.” This made me laugh. I am done having babies on purpose, yet holding one makes my uterus twitch. I was rubbing a friend’s very pregnant belly the other day, telling her I COULDN’T WAIT to hold that baby. I was really invading her personal space, but I was suddenly just so excited for her, that baby was RIGHT THERE. Then I got a little sad, thinking I wouldn’t hold one like that, in my own womb, again. And got just a little sad.

  22. Anita Jo
    February 27, 2009 | 11:15 am

    “low animal hum…” “radio station set to BABY…” How do you always find just the right words to capture these things? Well done, as usual. I’m right there with you, as usual. 🙂

  23. All Rileyed Up
    February 27, 2009 | 4:04 pm

    I do miss those baby days, especially now that most of my friends are only just now having babies and I buying itsy bitsy outfits for their babies, but I think I’m good on having any more children.

  24. Lisa b
    February 28, 2009 | 8:55 am

    I’ve often thought of your sentiment, or rather your husband’s, that someone has to be the last baby. I was always set on having just two and even I get choked up when I have to sort baby clothes that will not be worn by my babies.

  25. fidget
    February 28, 2009 | 9:59 am

    my radio is set to the same station and I too have such fun pregnancy complications… but we are still going for it. My doc has not directly said “this should be your last” they just blanch and teeter a bit when I say “we’re thinking about more”

  26. Patois
    February 28, 2009 | 11:42 am

    Oh, I’d never be satisfied with having that bottled up time just once or even just a few times. Bittersweet? I cry at the thought.

  27. Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)
    February 28, 2009 | 7:59 pm

    I soooooo hear you girlfriend!!!!

    I know that my body demands I stop at two, but it breaks my heart as each day my baby grows older.

  28. Jennifer
    March 1, 2009 | 11:17 pm

    Wow, that’s sad.

    What you need are some nieces and nephews, close enough to make you realize it’s wonderful to “get your fix,” and then equally wonderful to re-enter the world of logic and rational thought. 🙂

    I’ve often had the same thought, though: “if only I could bottle it up for later.” So much goodness when I’m too tired to really enjoy it all. I know one day I will long for all the craziness that a “normal” day holds for me right now, and I would appreciate it so much more, I’m sure.
    Knowing that does make me think harder and attempt to notice things that might be ignored otherwise. Still, the days rush by in an awful hurry…

    Here’s to happy days, Beck – and to spring, just around the corner…

  29. mimi
    March 3, 2009 | 10:52 pm

    It seems so unfair that all this little kid time is crammed into too little time–couldn’t we spread it out, less intensely, over more years? So I could savor it instead of doing all the panicking and eye-rubbing and such that I do now? I want to bottle some days too, for that time when I have time and lots of it, time to remember how fast it went and how it’s gone. Boo.

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