B got Dogga for Valentine’s Day when he was 14 months old. It was love at first sight. Dogga became B’s “lovey“. Dogga came on the airplane, into the bathroom, to the park, to the beach, to playgroups, in the car and in the stroller. Dogga saw every first and many lasts. I’m a bit of a wild driver and once when B was barely two I had to slam on the brakes. B yelled, “hold on, Dogga!” from the backseat. I’m surprised he doesn’t have his own carseat.
Dogga has the power to heal cuts, dry tears, scare away monsters and cure loneliness. Dogga is magic. Dogga is practically alive.
Once we realized how important Dogga was we started looking for an extra, just in case. Fast forward a few years and now there are six. The original Dogga had his nose chewed off so “went to keep Grandpa’s dog company” on the farm. Now we’ve got Present Dogga (he appeared under the Christmas tree with a red bow), Girl Dog, Daddy Dog, Mad Dog (the way the fur goes over his eyes makes him look mad, according to B), Scottie Dog and Other Dog.
I’ve noticed the dogs are sometimes left behind now. They always come out for morning snuggles and quiet time. They always go outside for trampolining. They come on long car trips. They don’t come to the store anymore. They don’t come to the beach in the bike basket. They didn’t go to daycamp.
A year from now, B will be heading off to full-day kindergarten and the long, crazy days with two tiny ones at home will be over. Now that a change is approaching I understand what the kind grandmas in the grocery store mean when they say, “Treasure the moments. This is the best time in your life.” Even though some days are like a long, uphill (whining, screaming, chaotic) marathon, this time is fleeting. The tough parts fade away and what is left is beautiful.
Little A has been “walking” for months by holding onto hands. Anyone’s hands will do: mine, D’s, Brother B’s (which is adorable!). Around Mother’s Day she gathered up her courage and walked from person to person. This week she got brave. D’s parents are visiting and everyone was sitting in the living room. I was banging and crashing in the kitchen by myself when I heard “Mah-Mah? Mahhhhh-Mah?” Then, “thump, thump, thump, thump” as her tiny body and delighted face peeked around the corner. She ran to me with that look that people have when they’ve returned from a long journey and first see a loved one. It was the longest journey she had ever taken. Her shining eyes said, “You are everything to me. Thank you. Thank you for being up in the night with me for months and months. Thank you for putting me first. Thank you for being my Mah-mah.”
If you are struggling with a new baby and trying to find yourself in the crazy new world of motherhood, hang on. Your reward is coming, sooner than you think. Blessings.
Sunday. The night I love. Time for quiet. The night my freshly-turned-one-year-old decides to become a toddler.
What was once a soothing, relatively easy bedtime routine suddenly turns on its heel and becomes an all-out sporting event. Flipping and flopping like a slippery fish, Little A does not want to wear a diaper. I finagle her onto her back and somehow slap the sticky tabs on the diaper, lopsided. We cuddle for a few minutes, then I slip her a pink soother and put her favourite My First Dolly right onto her face, the way she likes. I turn on the lullabies and tiptoe out.
Two minutes later I’m back, summoned by calls of “Mah-mah! Mah-mah!” She has flung the soother out of the crib (on purpose) and is joyfully banging her head into the mattress and giggling. As I lift her out to rock her, I sing her favourite “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral” over and over. Her bright blue eyes finally start to waver, closing, closing, almost asleep…then fly open, focused on a tiny speck of light on the ceiling. Her tiny finger points and waves madly at the light. “Ah! Ah!” she yells, willing me to stop rocking and look up at the wonder she has discovered.
I am blessed.