A few weeks ago, I was on the subway with Kavya, whose curiosity would be alarming if it weren’t so charming.
A man sat down next to us and, as she babbled in his direction, put down his book for a chat. He said he’d like to offer me one piece of parenting advice, the best he’d ever gotten. “Don’t blink,” Randy, the man, told me. “Before you know it, she’ll be all grown up.”
I didn’t realize how right he was. Even in the few weeks since that conversation, things have changed so much. And sometimes it feels like they’re moving at the speed of light.
It’s been about two weeks since Kavya got her first tooth. It’s a little one on the bottom, sort of to the left. And it was a long time coming. She’s been teething for months now, so seeing the first one pop up was a relief for all of us, even though we know that the worst is yet to come.
In the meantime, though, as she’s been teething and eating and growing more independent.
It started with the fact that she was biting — playful at first, but not necessarily playful down the line. But lately, she’s also seemed far less interested in breast milk (or formula, for that matter) and a lot more interested in food. She’s still managing the required minimum for her age, about 24 ounces in a 24-hour period, but she’d rather eat bananas or green beans or mango or rice with a hint of that rich, thick onion-y Indian curry. Which is great, because she might as well get used to all those flavors now.
I have to say, I was expecting weaning to be a lot more difficult of a process. I mean, at the very least, I imagined it to be an actual process. But the way things went, it’s almost like Kavi weaned herself.
It definitely means more freedom for me, but I do miss the bonding that came with nursing my baby. We still get in all the giggles and cuddles, but I’m just now realizing what a singular, unique experience breastfeeding really is. I’m glad I stuck with it, because it surely wasn’t easy at first, and there were times, at 3 a.m. or 5 a.m. or in the middle of the afternoon when I had deadlines looming, that it was certainly inconvenient. But in the end, it was a good experience for Kavi and for me. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Now I guess it’s time to move on to the next stage of mommyhood, the stage where I start to encourage my baby’s burgeoning independence as she crawls all over the place and tries to walk. As she becomes more adventurous in her choice of food, she becomes more open to new people and places. It’s bittersweet. She’s 9 months old already? How did that happen? I wish I could press pause sometimes. But since I can’t, I guess I’ll just have to enjoy each moment while I can. And try not to blink.
What was the best parenting advice you ever got?