When your baby is the center of your world, and then they grow up and want nothing to do with you

It’s funny how babies grow into children, and then children grow into adults. And then those adults have children, and then the cycle continues all over again. In the beginning, babies and children are100 percent dependent on their parents and caregivers for everything (and as newborns, even for lifting their necks!!!! I still can’t get over that), but then as they grow older, they become more independent to the point that they don’t even need their parents anymore. And while some people would find this fully liberating, others mourn it. They mourn not having someone to care for, not having someone who fully needs them for their survival. I’ve seen a few posts on social media about mothers mourning their baby becoming a kid, and their kid becoming an adult because once they become an adult, it’s likely they will be splitting their time across multiple commitments and loved ones, and so you will then only get a fraction of their time, if any. They yearn for those days when their babies babbled and cooed, when their babies’ eyes lit up when they came home from work or into the room. And for those children who have tumultuous relationships with their parents, they may end up choosing to spend little to no time with their parents.

Kaia is almost a year old. It’s mind-boggling to me how quickly this year passed. When I am doing my last pump of the night before bed, I frequently watch older videos of her from her newborn days, even the ones as recent as last week, and then I compare them to when she was just a few months old. I admire the super chubby cheeks she had in her 4-6-month stage and how excited she would get when I’d sing or take out Shungu the elephant for her. Her cheeks aren’t that chubby anymore, and she’s becoming more toddler like every single day, pulling herself up to stand, trying to cruise along the furniture. Her babble is sounding closer and closer to real words. It almost makes me sad. She could very well be my only baby, and so that would mean this is the only experience I will ever have having a little baby, to have and hold and care for. I keep looking at her and telling her not to grow up too fast. But I have a feeling she isn’t listening.

There was a New York Times article I recently read about the choices you make and how much time a person spends with their children, their parents, their colleagues, their chosen life partner over the course of a lifetime. And it all says the same thing: time with your parents and children are at the max when your kids are their youngest selves; as they grow older, it maxes out and eventually starts declining. And so for that, we need to cherish those times with our little ones as much as we can… because very quickly, they will not be so little anymore and will spread their wings to fly away. That’s partly why even though sometimes, I do get sad that I don’t get to go out with friends as much or read as many books or have as much time to myself as I did before my baby came, I know this is all temporary, and soon, I will get that time back. But, she won’t be this little forever, and so I want to savor every moment with her while I can, and snuggle her for as much as I can for as long as she will allow me to. I want to learn from the mistakes of my parents and not have her want to avoid me. I want her to associate me with love and acceptance. Because sadly, after the childhood I had and even the adulthood I continue to have while in my parents’ presence, I have little desire to spend more time than I already do with my own parents. It is sad, but it’s true. I don’t want to continue the intergenerational trauma. I don’t want that to be normal for me, and I certainly don’t want it to be normal for my daughter.

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