08 January 2008

remembering, firsts, and growing up

Matilda has been doing some amazing things lately: learning to read, spelling everything, losing teeth, explaining things I didn't even know she knew.

I'm one of those parents who always says, "oh, I'll remember this," and then doesn't. I mean to, but it just sort of slips into the blur that is my past and I remember my children's very early years with a vague sense of pride. I especially remember the things I repeat often: Matilda didn't sleep through the night until she was a year old. She loved to eat food off of other people's plates, especially our friend Anna, who lived with us when she was small. I pulled her arm through a too-small pair of pajamas when she was only a few months old and dislocated her elbow. She could be talked down from imminent tantrums with reason and logic. But mostly, I forget stuff, and I'm pretty okay with that.

If I had kept a baby-book I supposed this post wouldn't exist, but I didn't. Since I started this blog there has been more recording of daily activities, of first-times and milestones, and I'm glad that it's happening now.

The kind of firsts that are happening for Matilda now feel so vital, so monumental in a way that makes even first steps feel second rate. I don't mean that learning to walk isn't important, and maybe it's just because as I look back on my own childhood, the things that she is learning to do now are things that I can actually remember as exciting and new. She's navigating the world of Kindergarten, a world I am not a part of, a world in which High School Musical (huh? what's that?) plays a larger than life role. She's learning how to read, which, if I had to choose just one thing that was the best thing I ever learned how to do, would be it.

I realize that not-learning how to walk would dramatically alter one's life, but most people do learn to walk, talk and communicate, and yes, I know I'm supposed to say something about how lucky we are or something, but now more than ever I see her becoming her own person, I see her learning how to do things that don't involve me, and I love it, it's wonderful. I don't miss the baby that she used to be, or the toddler who never had much time to snuggle me anyway (too many other things to explore) and I don't know what I would do without her.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Nell. I loved this post. I've been thinking about this very thing lately. How with Elliot I had to write down the exact date she lost a tooth and what foods she was eating. With Arlo, I began to question why those trivial things matter. What matters more is how cool it is to see them grow into their own person and the amazing things they learn along the way.

Oh, and Matilda is so sweet.


jennifer said...

Funny, I've been thinking about things along this same line...I try and try to remember those firsts, but it sounds like there are even more notable firsts to look forward to.

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

I kept a baby book and can't remember things either. It's not you.

Shauna Loves Chocolate said...

This is so perfect.
It's hard to remember everything, but it's so precious that you keep this blog - she'll love it when she's a mom.