I have been soaking up the last days of my sweet Cuppie's babyhood. She comes to sit with me, climbs into my lap, and asks for her "nulkies." I happily oblige her.
She brings me the stuffed monkey puppet and says, "Hep me, Mom!" I press the button on the hidden box within and the monkey makes monkeyish noises.
She comes to me and puts her little hand on my expanding midsection and says, "Baybee bellee!" and "Wuf-oo, Baybee!"
She pats my cheek and says, "Wuf-oo, Mama!"
She toddles in sometime in the night and starts to climb up onto the bed. All the while, she softly says, "Mom?" and I answer her, "Yes, sweetie." "Mom?" she says again--are you still there?--"Yes, sweetie." "Mom?"--still??--"Yes, sweetie." When she has climbed atop the mound of sleeping Mama, she lays her little head on my cheek, tucks her feet into the blanket, and says, "Mom."
And then she sleeps, too.
This has happened each time. Each time a new life is coming into our family, I go through a small bit of mourning for the babyhood of the youngest. With the Frog, being my first, I had no idea what to expect when the Pickle came. With the Pickle, I was so sad that he had ended our nursing relationship--he was ready, but I was not. He was the type of baby who only let me hold him when he was nursing...he was not a snuggler, and I knew that the days of holding him close were ending. And even when we were expecing the Squash, and Reepicheep was nearly seven years old, I mourned the loss of her being the "Babyest" of the family. I always said to her, "You're all my babies, but you are the babyest!" ....and then that wasn't true anymore.
When Cuppie was the expected one, Squash and I would snuggle and he would put my Rosary around my belly, and we would pray our way around the Pumpkin within. He has always been a snuggler--he still is--and he sucked up every single minute that he could of it being Just Him in my arms.
And now the Cuppie. In her small ways, and in the best of her understanding, I know that she anticipates with joy the coming of this baby. I know that she will still be a snuggler, and that she will happily share her Nulkies with the baby.
...and I know that very soon, she will no longer be The Baby of the family.
She will be a wonderful big sister though.