You're doing it again. And you gotta stop this. You're changing, losing parts of your essential you-ness. I'm sure that you'll be doing new, new things any day now and that they'll be irresistible and adorable, but they'll never be the habits I've grown to love of yours that day by day I'm losing.
For a long time your dad would get you into your jammies then leave the room as I put you to bed. (By the way, have I told you I have a real thing for babies in jammies? I love nothing more than to see you, freshly bathed, crawling around happy and sleepy in your footie pajamas. And when you start toddling around in your pjs? Good lord, I get giddy just thinking about it.) But one night after getting you ready for bed, for some reason, your dad sat down in the chair in your nursery, I sat on the floor, you crawled between us and we talked about our day while watching you wind down. It fast became my favorite part of the day - a chance to reconnect with my husband in a quiet room lit by a dimly glowing lamp, all while you played happily between us. So even though it took your bedtime from an already-late-8:30pm to an insane-for-a-one-year-old-9pm, we kept it up. The crowning glory of our evening ritual, the cutest part of the night, would come when we decided it was finally time to put you to bed. Daddy would get up and stand just outside the room and announce "night night, Ollie". I'd make a production about saying "night night to daddy, I love you daddy" and you'd giggle maniacally as you frantically crawled to the door to shut it. But being that you're a clumsy little munchkin with a big ol' head, closing doors can be a difficult process and it would often take a few tries before you'd succeed in shutting daddy out. Each attempt cuter than the last as you tried to maneuver your body (tangled feet, a stray shoulder) out of the way of the door. And sometimes you'd get distracted when you rediscovered the mirror hanging on the back of the door. It wasn't a quick process, and for your daddy it might've even seemed slightly cruel (slamming the door in someone's face isn't usually considered a delightful practice) but it was adorable. And memorable. And I thought it would last forever.
And then there was the fascination with the kitty door, or more specifically, poking things out it. It started small: a marker here, a block there, but before long you were testing much bigger objects. You'd push a full size top through the flap on a regular basis, often using the long metal handle to pull it back in (usually for a second go). And I often found your ring stacker - the base and all the rings - in a pile on the patio. I always thought it was cute, your fascination with seeing things slip from inside to out, but it didn't strike me as anything special. Until you stopped. I didn't really realize it had been awhile since you'd shown an interest in the cat door until a few days ago when I spotted a small pile of your trinkets in a heap outside. And suddenly I realized what had been missing - I realized it had been days (weeks?) since I last collected your toys from the patio and that this thing you'd been so delighted by, this thing that seemed so very very YOU, was slipping away.
Some people can't believe I still wear you in a sling, being that you're 25 pounds and 30-some inches, but it's something we've both always loved. I couldn't wait to first wear you - before you were out of my body I wanted to strapped to it. I have a photo of us getting ready to leave the house for our first babywearing adventure - you just a week old, nestled happily in the sling I wore you in for every nap, every grocery trip, every everything for ages. You hated strollers, couldn't stand shopping carts and generally didn't want to be anywhere but pressed against my chest, back or hip for nearly a year. But recently something clicked and you decided, like most boys do, that riding on wheels is good fun. Suddenly you're whining to get into the cart as soon as you see one (that sweet, pudgy finger point point pointing at the rows of them as we walk up to the store entrance), and today you asked, as much as a barely verbal baby can, to stroll around the house in a stroller that until recently never held you unless you were screaming to get out. You're still mostly happy in the sling when there aren't other options and when you're tired there's nowhere you'd rather be than strapped to your mama, but you are most definitely spreading your wings and taking baby steps towards independence. (Next thing you know I'll be handing you the car keys.) I already miss wearing you in stores. Having you slung on my hip made shopping feel more like bonding time and less like an errand. But you deserve to be (relatively) free if that's what you want to be. And besides, the smile and giddy kick of the legs you give me as I buckle you in to the cart - well, that's a fine reward for letting go, even if not quite an equal exchange. (Oh and your coy "I'm so shy" face you make when you're flirting with strangers? Well, it worked so well when you could bury your head in my shoulders, twinkling eyes peeking out just enough to bat eyelashes. But in a cart you have nowhere to pretend hide. But it's so damn cute to watch you try.)
Keep growing, keep getting bigger and smarter and stronger. (The alternative is just too terrible to comprehend.) But please don't give up all your babyness just yet. Don't give up those tiny things that make you, you. Even as each day you become someone new.