Where DOES the time go?! Seriously! Within days of each other, my firstborn had his sixth birthday and my youngest turned six months, and I'm reeling. Josiah is a third of the way out of the house (assuming he moves out around age 18) and Malachi is halfway to a year -- and I feel like I JUST had them a week ago!
Ever since Malachi arrived, Josiah has seemed so huge and grown up to me. I consistently underestimate the strength it takes to sweep him up, and how high I need to keep my arms to keep him from hitting the ground when I swing him in my arms. Don't get me wrong, he's still small for his age -- he just seems so huge to me these days! And perhaps it is the presence of the new (does that term still apply at six months?) baby, but he seems so much more "different" after this birthday than he has at any other, so much more grown up and mature. His catch-phrase for at least a week following his birthday, anytime he did something we were complimenting him for, was, "Of course, mom, that's what six year olds do!" Well, gosh, if I'd known that, I'd have turned him six much sooner! (Or maybe I wouldn't have!)
There are still plenty of areas that keep him behind his peers (due to his SPD) -- he still doesn't sleep well, still has lots of potty accidents during the day and sleeps in a diaper at night, still makes too much noise and moves too much compared with other kids his age -- but he's growing up so much lately! He seems to be gaining an awareness of what it means to be growing up, and where many kids revert to more babyish behaviors when a younger sibling arrives, he seems to have embraced his big brother role for what it means to be older and more capable. And I'm simultaneously celebrating and mourning that!
For his part, Malachi is growing like a little weed himself. He moves around much more than Josiah did at his age -- not exactly army crawling, and not entirely using rolling as locomotion, but a strange combination of twisting and spinning that propels him around the floor. He no longer stays exactly where he was put -- if we leave him on his back, head facing north, we'll find him on his belly, head facing east two feet from where he was originally, in just a few minutes! And he's beginning to sit on his own -- he can support himself and keep his torso upright, but his balance isn't quite in tune yet :) He's also getting better and better at using his hands to reach out and grab what he wants and manipulate it somewhat. And there is NOTHING he isn't interested in grabbing! And most of it goes into his mouth to be chewed on and tasted :)
The cutest thing he's doing recently is "talking" to us. He's only just beginning to discover his voice and the range of noises it can make, and his babbling does resemble any actual words just yet, but he is clearly grasping the concept of using it to communicate. The other day, I had him in his baby swing while I was folding laundry. For a long time, we were both quiet, he focused on the fish twirling above his head and me on the laundry. When I finished I sat down across from him and caught his eyes, and he looked straight at me and started babbling noises with the most adorable "Mom, you should have seen this!" expression on his face. He seems to really be paying attention to the signs we are showing him, and while he doesn't use them yet (except for mik -- I *think* he's using that one sometimes), I think they are helping him sort out words and learn language already.
I can remember being so excited at every new milestone Josiah made as a baby, feeling the newness of his growing abilities and intellect right along with him. Knowing that Malachi is most likely my last baby, these moments are more bittersweet -- I treasure them even while I mourn the loss of a stage he has passed and will never return to. Gone already is the tell-tale newborn sound to his cry and voice, the tiny face and features of a newborn, the downy-soft newborn fuzzy hair, even the dramatic startle reflex. In some ways I feel like I missed so much of those early stages just trying to keep him from crying all day and night (he was "colicky" for the first two months, until I cut gluten from my diet!), and I sense the loss of it even while I celebrate the new skills and features he develops.
Someone once shared with me a quote about motherhood, something along the lines of "The days seem to last forever, but the years fly by!" Such truth, and while it's easy to get lost in the monotony of the everyday, fighting the same discipline battles and food challenges and chores struggles -- and playing the same games and reading the same stories -- over and over again, I pray I will not lose sight of just how fast it all really does go by. Someday, far sooner than I realize, I'm sure, I will pine for the days when several rounds of Guess Who and requests to pick up the Go Fish cards while I stir the soup with one hand and balance a fascinated-with-life infant on my hip with the other filled my days and weeks. Oh, there will be new joys, to be certain -- but never again will things be as they are right now. And as hard as the days are sometimes, as the years fly by, I realize more and more just how blessed these days are!