Little Bear Becomes a Toddler.

My baby is no longer a baby, officially as of next week.

The day that I turn 27 and 5 months, Little Bear turns 1. It happened in what feels like a blink of an eye. One moment LB is lifting his head for the first time, and the next he figured out how to roll over. Now he’s turning one, and I can’t help but be a little sad.

I watched Mama Bear carry LB for almost nine months and I held him mere hours after he was born. I took his first selfie! He’s the first baby I’ve babysat that I’ve watched grow into a toddler. I swear it came out of nowhere! One day he looked like a baby and the next his limbs were growing into those of a toddler and he had 6 teeth. Now he walks when you hold his hands above his head and walk with him, and he just barely says “mama, dada, girl, ball, wow, yeah and dog.”

Throughout his first year of life, I’ve watched every milestone. During each one I told myself that I wouldn’t forget the first time he smiled, laughed or crawled. During every one of these milestones, I knew the exact date and time. I knew how old he was down to the day. Now I am struggling to remember any of it.

When you’re in the moment, you don’t think there’s any way that you’ll forget these milestones. You don’t think that you need to write them down, because you think that there’s no way that you’ll forget the first smile, the first laugh. Then life happens and you spend your days chasing a fast-paced crawler, and you forget completely.

Included in my childhood mementos is a calendar of my first year of life. How cute is my mother?! It marks each and every one of my “firsts.” First bath, first outing after coming home from the hospital. Mama Bear wasn’t around for much of these first with LB, she made partner at her law firm when LB was just four months old, but Grandma Bear was, and luckily she documented all of the big milestones.

I am grateful for Grandma Bear and her documentation. Each month since LB was born, GB took a photo of LB on the same rocking chair in his room next to the same stuffed penguin. I didn’t really see the point the first couple months, but slowly but surely I saw the bigger picture. Literally. Each month LB grows bigger than the stuffed penguin. When we first started taking the photos he couldn’t sit himself up in the rocking chair and we had to prop him up, hoping he wouldn’t fall flat on his face. He was practically the same size as the penguin! Now he’s basically walking off the rocking chair to chase after the dogs’ food and water dishes, an obsession of his since he discovered crawling.

It makes me sad that I didn’t keep track of these milestones for myself. I’m so odd. He’s not even my son! I’m not sure what my attachment is to LB. I have babysat a dozen children since I was 15, even a few babies, but LB was the first child I’ve ever watched who I’ve known since he was born. I started working for the Bears before anyone besides mom and dad (and me) knew that LB was on the way. LB is a whole different ballgame from most of the other children, and babies, that I’ve babysat.

One day I told Papa Bear that I was sad Little Bear wasn’t a baby anymore. He told me that he wasn’t sad, because we are getting into the fun years. After he said that I realized he was right. LB has the biggest personality. He loves music and playing instruments. He’s extremely silly! He’s the happiest baby I have ever met and I’m looking forward for him growing into a toddler.

As always, I must give credit to Big Bear. BB has the greatest Brio train set I’ve ever seen, and the two of us have built some pretty badass train stations together. More often than not, LB comes over and tears the tracks apart. Although BB freaks out when LB destroys his trainset, he always gives LB a train to play with, to keep him distracted from our creation. BB is going to have a lifetime of moments when his little bro pissing him off, and I think he’ll be able to handle himself just right.

BB knows that LB is turning one next week and I have assigned him with a special task at the birthday party- so he doesn’t feel left out. BB will tell everyone when it is time to sing “Happy Birthday.” He is very excited for his super-duper important task, and I will be there documenting the cheers and joys of the night.

 

 

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