Excuse me, but did I or did I not have a baby around here somewhere? At least somewhat recently?
We all call him Ikey now, instead of Baby Ike. It's a good compromise. He's funny and cute and incredibly laid back, one might even say downright easy, but he's also totally trouble if you aren't paying attention. He looks just like Noah, eats just like Ezra and is the only one of my children who loves Elmo beyond all sense and reason. The way he says "Mama" puts my heart through the shredder, every time.
Everybody tells you it goes fast; it goes so, so fast; enjoy it because FAST. They tell you this when your first baby is like, seven minutes old and the idea of him ever being anything but a fussy little non-sleeping blob sounds completely crazy. You've aleady forgotten what it feels like to sleep. It all goes so fast? THAT'S FASCINATING. OKAY, TRYING TO KEEP AN INFANT ALIVE OVER HERE, BRB.
What they don't tell you is that it goes even exponentially faster with each subsequent baby. You have a frame of reference now. You know the stages: That already-sleeping-through-the-night-newborn is nothing to brag about now (HA! N00BS!), because in a few weeks he will wake up and realize that the world around him is BRIGHT and LOUD and SUCKS.
That swaddled burrito will figure out what his arms and legs do and start rolling and scooting and general not-staying-where-you-put-him-ing. Then comes a long, hazy stage of constant injury prevention and choking hazards. Crawling, cruising, walking, falling.
Booties become shoes. Then bigger shoes. Pureed yams languish in the freezer because it's all about the finger foods and then the fork and the spoon and gimme some of your steak, plz. The pajamas that looked laughably huge just a few months ago no longer stay snapped in the crotch. He refuses to sit in a high chair or even a booster seat, his legs hang over the edge of the changing table, he helps put away the groceries and knows how to turn the TV on and how to get to Elmo videos on my phone. Mimicry gives way to independence, babble turns into conversation, and suddenly you realize you're in the final year (or maybe even months) of diapers and cribs and babyhood altogether.
And then you catch a glimpse of your reflection next to theirs in a shop window and wonder when all that happened. The lines and the eyebags and the neck. And when your babies' heads came up past your thigh, your hip, your waist, your chest. When they stopped loving Elmo and calling you Mama.
At least we're not quite there yet with this one. It'll all happen soon enough, because FAST, but...not quite yet.
And something tells me I'll be swallowing back the "baby" part of "Baby Ike" for a long, long time, because he is. And always will be.