Since his sister started school in August, Drew has shared our alone time with a computer screen. Bedtime, after long days as a then pregnant and mostly single parent, was the only time where we were truly just mom and son, and even then I was pushing him towards the short board books and one-verse lullabies, just so I could dive into those precious few hours at night when the house was quiet and still, the only noise being the buzz of my laptop and the low drone of our television.
Even so, he still begs for me at bedtime, rushing for the "big books" and asking me to sing song after song as I hold him tightly wrapped in his favorite blanket, rocking in the pitch darkness of his room, the sound of his rain machine as my accompaniment.
I gladly pass the baby to my husband just so I can hold him for those ten long minutes, and perhaps earn back some of the time I spent what felt like seemingly wasting away his infancy and toddlerdom.
He's so big now, compared to his eight pound sister - running fast, throwing hard, and recklessly clamoring through the house like a loose cannon shot without aim, though still gentle in face and spirit. He speaks in pseudo sentences -- a few words strung together in a way that one can figure out the story he is trying to tell.
As of late, he desperately tries to find space on my lap which is otherwise occupied by a small baby. He searches for any morsel of thigh so he can plop his still diapered behind down and rest his head on me, poking and petting the baby in his own loving way. Most of time, it ends with kicks, head butts, and time outs, clearly his way of getting what little attention I can spare.
Yesterday, as I carried both him and his little sister up the stairs, his face warm from a low-grade fever and his head resting on my one available shoulder, he said "two babies."
It stung a little - these words from my sweet baby boy who's made veritable meals from the crumbs I've been able to spare him over this last year. And while I know our time together will come, when newborns aren't eating every two hours and spending the other hours nestled in a sling, it's hard not to feel a tinge of guilt.
Because when it comes down to it, he is still very much our baby.