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It's hard to pick a favorite phase

Welcome to motherhood

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POSTED: November 7, 2013 2:00 p.m.

Every phase of “babyhood” has its merits, and I’ve loved them all so far. In fact, every time my daughter Reese enters a new stage of development, I swear that it’s the best one yet. I honestly can’t pick my favorite.
My husband and I currently are having a lot of fun with our toddler. Now that she can run around, communicate with us and express herself, it’s certainly easier to meet her needs and engage her in activities. We are treated to little surprises every day when Reese points to objects and blurts out words we had no idea she knew, asks questions, commands our dog to sit down, tells us she’s ready for her bath or accepts our offers to play with specific toys and games.
About a month ago, she started giving hugs and kisses; my heart melted on the spot and never has been quite the same. I tear up every time Reese wraps her tiny arm around my shoulder and pats me on the back. It’s truly amazing.
Her bedtime routine now involves putting all of her stuffed animals to sleep as well — laying them down, covering them with blankets and distributing kisses to each furry face. Now, if only Reese would go to sleep as easily as all of her plush friends!
As much as I’m enjoying watching our little girl demonstrate her new abilities and skills, I must admit I do miss the newborn days. There’s nothing like holding a snuggly baby tight, supporting her fuzzy little head, watching her sleep and coo, knowing she’s all yours and trying to get over the disbelief that you’re now a tiny person’s entire world.
On occasion, I yearn for the days when Reese would lie contentedly in my arms for hours on end. I crave the closeness and ease that came with nursing her — long before I had to prepare toddler-friendly meals, pour over ingredient lists, fret about food groups and deal with cleaning up a food-strewn kitchen floor.
And then, of course, there’s the fun phase that lies somewhere between newborn and toddler. Watching Reese learn to roll over, sit up and crawl was wonderful. Seeing her eyes light up as she chomped down on her first bite of table food — a banana — gave me so much joy. It was during this time that she began to walk and uttered her first word — mama, of course.
The “in-between” stage was perhaps the easiest of all, especially when it came to traveling. Newborns are so fragile that it often made me nervous to take Reese places, even if we were just running errands. I worried about germs, weather that was too hot or too cold, being jostled in crowded places and having enough supplies in the diaper bag — pacifiers, blankets, diapers, extra clothes, rattles, nursing cover and a portable changing pad.  
Now that Reese is a toddler, I don’t worry nearly as much about stocking the diaper bag with gear (Do we have a few diapers, wipes and a snack? Yep, let’s go!), but I do worry about embarrassing temper tantrums and meltdowns. Those are never fun to deal with.
It’s silly to be nostalgic over things that happened only a year ago, but it’s the truth. As a new mom, though, I’ve learned it’s important to avoid dwelling on the past for long, because there’s always a wonderful new development, special moment or enlightening experience around the corner. And you certainly don’t want to miss those.

 

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