I’m staring at a bag of Gabe’s clothes, sitting on the floor in front of me. Dom has painstakingly sorted all of the 0-3M clothing that no longer fits. In order to sell through a local Facebook group, Dom has given each bag a cute category that describes its contents. To my left, “Duckies and Dinos.” To my right “Daddy’s Sidekick,” and in front of me, both “Christmas” and “Looking Sharp” lay silently. And as I sit there staring, I say to myself, “My gosh, it all went so fast.”
It feels like yesterday that we were opening the door and bringing Gabe into our house for the first time. It was not yesterday, it was nearly five months ago. My little monster man knows his room, loves his changing pad, and laughs when I give him high fives. Gabe loves when Grandma sings “My Favorite Things.”
We spent so long in the process of working towards our family’s start. The hunt, the chase, the search, the paperwork, all of it serving to eat up the time as we waited with bated breath for the arrival of our Little Man. It all took so long, was so exhausting. But with plastic bags filled with onesies and pant sets splayed out in front of me, I realize the last five months have gone so quickly, and as frantically as I’ve tried to put a stopper in the bottle, the water has found its own way out.
I remember feeding Gabe for the first time, in the intensive care unit, Dom’s hand on my knee as we watched him gulp down just one ounce of Similac. We had tears in our eyes, knowing that he was finally in the world, in our world. Now, I watch as he eagerly opens his mouth for the next spoonful of bananas, as he smiles when Papa says, “Who wants nanners?” I watch as Grandma and Grandpa feed him sweet potatoes, or pears and rice cereal, and I almost forget the first ounce of Similac in a single-serve bottle.
He is growing so fast, his legs are strong and he is always trying to climb his way up my body as I hold him against me. When Grandpa puts on “The Lion Guard” or “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” or another show with which Gabe has become entranced, it’s hard to remember the very first time I felt his tiny head in the crook of my arms.
Dom gives me flack for living through a lens, and it’s well deserved; I have over 1,500 pictures on my iPhone, and a conservative estimate would put the number of pictures of Gabe well over a thousand. (The remaining 500 are toss-ups between our cat Stoli, selfies, and wrestling memes.) But I am so desperate to create proof that this happy smiling boy was here, at all the various stages of his existence. My memory might fail me at some point, I fear. And I’ll need the pictures.
Gabe’s favorite toy is a rattle called the Noggin Stik Baby Toy, it was his first real rattle, and it lights up on the end and changes colors, has a textured grip handle, and a mirror on the bottom. It’s the first toy that taught him how to grip, and we figured it would be a toy he kept for years. No no, not Gabe. Because Gabe has already moved onto bigger toys.
We have a Fisher Price 3-in-1 Convertible Car Gym, meaning that Gabe’s wheels are already nicer than anything I’ve ever driven. (Sorry Subaru!) Dom and I like it because Gabe’s interests and moods do fluctuate at different times of the day. Now, his temperament is almost always happy and light. But sometimes, he’d rather lay down than sit up, or would prefer his stomach to his back. He’s not shy about letting you know when he would, let’s say, prefer a different arrangement.
Gabe was rolling to his side very early on in his life, so we knew it would only be a matter of time before he discovered the joys of tummy time. The Convertible Car gives us the freedom to adapt to whatever Gabe wants in any specific moment. He lays on his back and we adjust the rail to let him reach up for toys. Or we lay the toy rail flat and Gabe has tummy time where he can reach for his toys. And for cuteness factor alone, we thought you might want to see what it’s like when Gabe decides to sit up and drive his car.
And if we’ve learned something from Pixar, it’s that toys are great for kids, but they can also teach adults a thing or two. As I’m watching my son move from stage to stage on this Convertible Car, I’m realizing that I have to be there for the ride too, and not look in the rearview mirror too much. He is growing, more and more every day. And before he’s getting his actual driving permit, I have to try to soak up as much of these memories as possible. Maybe taking pictures isn’t the only way to preserve a childhood.
Maybe the act of being a parent is to let your heart be as full as possible in the moments that exist, in real-time. Maybe we should write to remember, but live to love. And so as I wait for a buyer on eight bags of 0-3M clothing (inquire within), I smile. Yes, I’ll miss the dark hair that has blonded, the chubby legs that have strengthened, and the silent mouth that now giggles every day.
But this is a hell of a ride we’re all on, and we’re buckled in for the long haul.
This post is sponsored by Fisher-Price. If you have a baby less than 12 months old, leave a comment to this post sharing your favorite fatherhood memory and you may be selected to receive a Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Convertible Car Gym.