Parenting Gone Awry

Blue Berries

Saturday morning, after breakfast, I scooped Sean out of the barstool he was sitting in at the breakfast bar and spirited him off to the kitchen counter to wipe blueberry goo from his face and hands and legs before he ran off to spread blueberry goo throughout the kingdom. 

As I carried him around the breakfast bar, he clasped his sticky blue hands behind my neck and wrapped his long legs around my waist and tried to plant  bluberry kisses on my nose which I pretended to rebuff. 

I looked into his blueberry blue eyes and thought about how I used to sit him on the counter in a blue feeding chair and sing silly made-up songs to him to get him to eat.  He would laugh a toothless laugh and then open his mouth wide like a hungry baby bird.  My spirit would float up to the ceiling as light as a feather to think that I had made him laugh.

Now he feeds himself and my made-up silly songs annoy him more than amuse him. 

At that moment I was hit by that invisible chest crushing blow that I sometimes get when I realize that I am no longer a new mom and he is no longer a new boy.  That season of our lives is over.

I plopped him down on the counter and began rubbing blue residue off his hands and face and legs with a wet washcloth.

“Oh Sean,” I sighed, “I’d like to put you back in my tummy and do it all over again.  Only this time I’d do it better,” I said.  “I know what I’m doing now.”  I allowed myself to retreat to a quiet place in my mind as I scrubbed and imagine the joy of doing it all again and the mistakes I wouldn’t make.

Just then the air was pierced with a jarring yelp.

“Ow!” he screamed. “Stop rubbin’ Mom! That’s not blueberries!  That’s my boo boo!”

I had rubbed a little scab off his ankle and it was bleeding.

Huh. Whadya know. Looked like blueberry goo to me.

Or then again, maybe I still don’t know what I’m doing.

27 thoughts on “Blue Berries

  1. Another amazingly sweet post; and one that surely pulls at my heart.

    My son will be seventeen in 6 days and I have not begun shopping for his birthday gifts. I’m living in denial that he is essentially an adult now.

    Oh to do it over again. Sign me up for sure.

    Hope Sean’s boo boo is OK.

  2. I know that heart pain. I keep trying to remind myself, “Each stage is precious. Each one. Treasure what you have.” But man. Sometimes I just miss my babies. (Even though I have one right now, crawling around on my floor and sucking my toes. But you know what I mean.)

  3. They grow too fast – just like little weeds! It is sad to let them grow up, but just think about how wonderful it is to watch them grow and learn new things!

  4. I’ve been pondering that feeling frequently this summer as my youngest is eight and an all-important half and my oldest is headed off to middle school and will be 13 in November. My days of making them laugh is pretty much over, unless you count the times they laugh at things that jiggle on the mama — those very same things this mama wishes no one would notice.

    I guess they’re still laughing . . . now it’s just at me rather than for me. : )

  5. Oh to do it again knowing that those sleepless nights would one day be nothing but a fuzzy memory of a time that passed like the blink of an eye. To be able to revisit the past knowing which precious memories to just sit back and savour and fiercely commit it to memory would be priceless.

    Well, now you’ve made me cry.

  6. Sometimes memories are like scabs. If you allow yourself to peek underneath, there can be both pain and healing at the same time.

    I’d like to do some things over as well… that’s the pain part.

    But then there are other memories so sweet that they heal the not so great ones.

    Sweet Blessings friend!

  7. My kids are 40 and 37. How many times have I wished that. Especially with the first one. She was the practice child. I guess all the first ones are. I improved on the second one…(thumb sucking, potty training) things that I ruined the first one on. If I could do it over again, I’d do so many things differently. I wonder if in a Master Plan of Life somewhere there are things said about this…that while we try to raise children, we are really raising ourselves.

  8. I know exactly what you mean. Mine are 4 and 5 and I often mourn the passing of the baby phase. And there are many times when I wish I had known then what I know now.

    But I try not to get caught up in what has already passed by and focus on what’s ahead.

    Thanks for another wonderful post!

  9. I’m getting ready to do it all again, and figurin’ if I know me, I’ll just make a-whole-nother set of mistakes. But I bet I’ll enjoy it as much as I did the first time, too. And he’ll come out as quirky and sweet and loveable as his sister before him.

  10. Some areas of my life are fraught with the wish to have a “do over” Hind sight truly is 20/20. The pain of life can be so great sometimes, that the overwhelming desire to go back and correct all of my mistakes and blunders seems sublime.

    But, those twists and turns and pain somehow it works. I think it goes back to the scripture–ALL things work for his purpose.

  11. I SO know what you mean. Every time I think I have it “figured” out I realize that I really don’t have a clue. My daughter is 8 1/2 months old and I would LOVE a do over. It seems that I am saddened every time I see a photo of a baby because I feel like we didn’t take enough pictures of her or didn’t take the “right” kind of pictures. I guess like everything else, there is something you would always do differently. I already miss my “baby” and she isn’t even a year old yet!

  12. OK, I partly agree. DD turned ~30~ two weeks ago, and I have had a hard time reconciling that with my memories of a little bald-headed baby girl. And I think of all I’ve learned and would do MOST of it over again.

    But put her back in my tummy? Nope. Going through labor again does not even BEGIN to appeal to me.

  13. I won’t do any part of it over again. No, not that I didn’t make huge mistakes but I’m really happy with how he has turned out. Why mess with perfection. (hey, let me have my little fantasy)

  14. They do grow up sooo fast. I have been given a list of acceptable nicknames and ones I am no longer allowed to use. Baby, Baby Girl, and Sugar Booger are out. Princess, Sugar, and Fabulous are acceptable. She’s four. Oh my!

  15. Sometimes AD and I look at Sean and then each other and giggle because we just can’t believe we’ve got this boy and it’s just been so much fun. We are both aware of how fleeting and golden these days are.

  16. This is only tangentially (or whatever that word is) related to your post; but, I want to tell you a cute ‘blueberry anecdote’.

    When I was eight months pregnant, my husband & I went blueberry picking. I was wearing a bluish purple maternity T-shirt. My husband grabbed my belly and said (quite loudly), “I found a REALLY BIG blueberry!”

  17. It’s funny, I liked the baby-stage but I really don’t miss it. Must be missing some estrogen or something.
    When you do figure out this mommy can you post about it? I sure could use the help!

  18. Oh, this really touched me. I really don’t miss the baby stage like so many do, but this post brought back a rush of memories.

    Our daughter, at twelve months, was developmentally more like a five month old when we adopted her. She used to give us what we called “her baby bird look” when she was ready for another bite.


    I miss that.

  19. I kept her teeniest outfit (which was still baggy on her then). It looks like doll clothes now, and she’s still 3. It’s hard to believe she was once half the size of our cat!

    I don’t think I’ll ever figure out what I’m doing. 🙂

  20. Oh I am hit by the longing to go back and start over SO OFTEN! It’s chest-crushing, just like you describe. I like to think that I’d do better the second time around, but I know in my heart I’d make as many mistakes, they’d just be different ones!


    I love the photo of him in his “bowler” hat.

  21. Sweet, sweet memories. My babies are big now, too, but I remember. Sometimes, when they’re not paying me any attention (ok, that happens alot these days), I can watch them and get back that wonder and amazement. Because, really, they don’t know it, but they’re still my babies. And still totally amazing.

  22. I saw a boy when I was picking up Noah at preschool today, a boy nearly up to his mother’s shoulder, who is also a student at this school with a maximum range of 4 years difference from youngest to oldest, and I was overwhelmed, thinking “OH my GOD, my son will one day be that big?” And like you, I wanted to shrink him back down and tuck him back in.

    I’m so glad when I see that it’s not just me.

  23. What a sweet story! There are so many times where I think, “WHY did God put these children in my home? I am doing nothing right!” Then I need to remember that I’m doing the best I can and know how. My son is now 4 and I just want to cry when I watch him do new things. Sadness and joy all at the same time. Sad he’s not small and completely dependant on me, and joyful because he can do so many new and exciting things on his own. ::sigh:: That’s life, huh?

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