Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Baby the World Forgot

On Easter Sunday, I posted a few pictures on my Facebook wall of our family that we had taken following Easter Morning Mass. The kids all looked sweet in their pretty spring outfits, including Daniel who was sporting a pair of white pants, with a light blue collared shirt, suspenders, and a polka dot bow tie. One of my sisters commented on the photo - "Daniel has hair now! You need to share more pictures of him!" And that's when it hit me. I really have not been taking nearly as many pictures of Daniel and he is walking, talking, and throwing tantrums like a big kid! I have almost been keeping him hidden away with little update on his growth or maturation. He's the baby the world forgot.

This was his facial expression in every single picture we took on Easter Sunday.
He really was showing a lot of personality for the camera.

I believe that I'm experiencing with the addition of each child how hard it is to take time to record memories and unfortunately Daniel follows three very demanding children who eat up a fair amount of my time. Some of my lack of free time is Daniel's own fault too. He is a terrible napper and I rarely have a moment without him clinging to my pant leg or handing me a toy drenched in drool or completely dismantling my pantry multiple times a day, which takes me a lot longer to clean up than it took him to tear apart. I'm pretty sure he doesn't mind the lack of pictures or the absence of a baby book, but he might in a few years.

Matthew recently was raiding our cabinet in the family room and found a baby book that I filled out. It recorded all my thoughts during pregnancy with him and all his major milestones up until about the age of two. There were ultrasound pictures, copies of medical records, footprints, handprints, and lots of pictures of him scattered throughout this fairly thorough record of his babyhood. He was so happy while paging through it - commenting on how cute he was, how adorable he was, and reading all of my loving thoughts about how happy I was to have him as a son. Emma was nearby looking through the book with him and then walked over, tapped my shoulder with purpose, and asked, "Mama...where's my baby book?"

I think you know where this is going. Matthew got the baby book, hundreds of photos, and lots of individual attention that we are still paying for to this day. Emma, Lucy, and Daniel did not get a baby book. To my credit, I did purchase a baby book while pregnant with Emma, having every intention of completing it upon her arrival, but I didn't get much further than recording her initial birth stats. So, sorry Emma, you don't have a baby book. She wasn't too happy with that response.

Lucy didn't even bother asking. I think she knew the answer. At least Emma and Lucy have their babyhood fairly well recorded on this blog. I didn't begin writing regularly until Matthew was over a year old and Daniel, as mentioned above, has been fairly ignored. I like to think that it's not all bad news though. With each additional child, I think I have grown as a mother. I am more patient, more relaxed, more happy to just spend time doing simple things with my children. I have learned to soak in the little moments - like watching Daniel attempt to fit Mr. Potato Head's eyes into his body or helping Lucy build a puzzle - because I know, having done this rodeo before, that these moments are fleeting and childhood is very transient. I've been far less concerned with my own agenda the past few years as much as I have been with trying to give more of myself to my kids by simply being present to them. Maybe memories of having me around to play with them, take them to the park, plan picnics in the sunshine, make crafts, and read books will mean more to them down the road then having a baby book detailing when their 4th tooth finally broke through their gumline.

Don't worry, I'm still taking pictures of my precious little Danny. But I'm also taking the time to soak up his babyhood so that I never forget this precious time of his life.

And on that note, I should probably share that we celebrated Daniel's 1st birthday this month! He is now officially a one year old and I'm almost certain that his siblings were much more excited for this momentous occasion than he was! They were so sweet to him - Emma in particular had spent the entire week leading up to his birthday making little presents for him with the sewing machine she had received for her birthday. Matthew, Emma, and Lucy were also allowed to "purchase" a few little gifts for him at the store - Matthew chose a wooden pull-behind train, Emma a cute little xylophone, and Lucy a squeezable pink unicorn toy which busted shortly after the birthday boy unwrapped it. It was very sweet to watch the older siblings celebrate their baby brother. Daniel loved each and every gift he received - he really did! He played with each toy and even became super possessive of them because he realized that they were HIS. He will be in a completely different room, but if he hears someone pounding on his xylophone, he will scurry towards it as fast as his tiny little legs can go, shrieking all along the way, and rip the mallets out of the perpetrator's hands. It's both amusing and slightly alarming to see our baby evolve into a bit of a brat.

This year with Baby DJ has flown by! He is so dear, so affectionate, and such a happy little boy. Daniel, you are so loved and cherished by all of us!