Thursday, August 23, 2007

Babies Don't Keep

Today Madeline was coloring when out of the blue she said, "Oh my gosh! I'm getting so big." It's true. I sometimes can't believe how old she suddenly seems. She's become quite the conversationalist and she's started dressing herself (or at least attempting to), and she's morphed into a little mother, who runs to her baby sister's side at the first sign of fussiness. Then she'll stick her knuckle by Rachel Marie's rosebud lips. When the baby starts automatically sucking, Madeline says, "Maybe she's hungry, Mommy." No mater if I just finished nursing her.

Yet, babies, even more so than toddlers, seem to change by the hour. Rachel Marie, who just last week gave the impression of being more of a newborn or blob-like, as my hubby calls the helpless, wobbly, less interactive stage, has transformed seemingly overnight into a responsive baby. Now she gazes into my eyes for several minutes at a time and "talks" to me, smiling as soon as I talk back. Even though I know she'll soon be hitting more advanced milestones like walking and talking, and will no longer be content to snuggle against my chest, it's often tough to savor all of her "babyness" with an active toddler underfoot and a busy schedule. Each week is chock full of errands to run, dirty clothes to wash, play dates to attend, calories to burn and grandparents to visit. Yet, I try to soak up her smell as much as I can, to watch her sleep, to run my fingers through that crazy hair of hers that grows longer every day yet continues to defy gravity by sticking straight up into the air, to hold her as much as I can and to gently squeeze her dimpled bum because as my mother-in-law recently reminded me by dropping a poem called "Song for a Fifth Child" in the mail, babies don't keep.

"Song for a Fifth Child (The Value of Values) "
by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth!
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking!

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullabye, rockabye, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Lullabye, rockabye, lullaby loo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo,
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my "Roo."
(Lullabye, rockabye, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs;
Dust, go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby,
And babies don't keep.

1 comment:

*Jess* said...

You make such beautiful babies! Both Madeline and Rachel are definitely growing up too fast!