I’m throwing it back to the days when my girl would strip down to her diaper if you displeased her. I will tell you – this is an extremely effective way to get your point across. First, it is hard to pick up a naked-except-for-the-clothes-around-the-ankles child. Second, you can’t ask them to walk anywhere because they fall. It’s really a brilliant way to make yourself in charge of yourself, unless the public and the police are nearby, and you’re an adult – then, no.
Everyone and their mother tell us how we will miss these years. Of course, we will miss pieces of this time. Because we will be getting older and life moves so quickly and once you’re on the other side of your child’s/children’s younger years, you’re really on the other side of the hill of life anyways. You’re on your way.
But I take pictures of things like this to remind me of a secret: I won’t miss it all. I wonder if all of those women with older children who tell me I’ll miss this time would be saying the same if they had recorded moments like this for themselves. If only they had had a smartphone, I think, then they’d remember that they might not miss this.
On this day, I was hot, sweaty, tired, and probably unshowered. I had a baby who needed to nurse on my hip, but he wouldn’t eat if I was sweaty so I had to will myself to stop sweating so that he could eat so that he would stop crying if only she’d come in the house so that I could stop sweating so that he could eat so that he would stop crying.
You know, I just do not miss the phase pictured here. Maybe someday I’ll miss the fact that they were little and with me, and that I had a baby who would bliss out when being nursed (so long as I wasn’t sweating), but I won’t miss this. I already don’t miss that she’s not in a diaper anymore. Actually, I don’t miss one minute of any single diaper change, especially the diaper changes that happen once solid food has begun. And I don’t think I ever will.
What I would miss is if, when I looked back, I felt that I didn’t find this situation funny at the time, that I didn’t laugh, that I didn’t enjoy her stubbornness (from her father’s side, in case anyone’s keeping track). I would miss if I thought I didn’t let her stomp her feet enough and get her feelings out the only way she knew how. I would miss that; I would miss if I thought I did a bad job. I feel longing when I feel like I have done a crappy job on something I really care about – when I got overly annoyed about something that was no big deal, when I yelled, when I complained about them acting like children. I feel really crappy when I think about those times and I feel like I missed the moment because, frankly, I did. I did and I feel it and I wish I could go back and do the better thing. But I can’t, of course. And I also can’t live in the missing.
So, I just keep going along, letting them be them, letting me be me, and snapping a picture so that I can hold it up to my far-sighted face in the future and remind myself that no, in fact, you don’t miss that part because I didn’t miss it. I was there and here and with them and present and using my phone only to snap a picture so that I could gain some perspective on the whole situation instead of freaking out while in it. It is a magic trick I use regularly – I snap a picture or take a video when all hell is breaking loose. Sometimes I send it to my trustiest girlfriends who won’t judge or my husband who can’t judge because he’s been here. What I hope that I’ll know is that I had it and it was grand and I didn’t miss it because I was here for every single moment of it and it is over and now the next part is.
And if it’s different than I think and I find myself missing, I’ll look back at all the pictures, retell all the stories, and then I’ll just remember the diapers. All the diapers. And then I’ll steal someone’s itty bitty to lie curled up on my chest and I’ll pretend and remember, which may be the same thing, and hand them back when it’s time to change their diaper.