Every day is one day less with this particular version of our baby. This one. The one that babbles incessantly in consonants, in whispers and whale squeaks and jabbering speeches. The one that stand on the pinnacle of full-blown walking by himself. The one that takes cautious, plodding steps, one - two - three - four - and stop! And applaud, because he's so proud of himself for the work he's doing.
How long? Not very long. Weeks. A month or two. Then he'll be walking. Then, the gates we've erected to enclose him in the living room are going to be nothing more than punch lines. Soon, soon, he'll be walking up to us with the book that we absolutely must read to him at that very moment right there. Soon, we'll be watching him waddle down the aisles of the supermarket, through the doors of the coffee shops and toy stores. He'll walk to the elevator himself, press the buttons himself, and walk us, hand in hand, to the car.
So I remind myself to savor these moments. They disappear before I realize they're gone. I didn't realize until it was nearly too late that the days of bottle-feeding him were nearly gone, back at the end of June. And then it was the last two days that he'd get a bottle from me, and then it was the last day, and then it was the last bottle, the last time he sprawled on my lap to let me feed him. And then, there were no more left.
Soon, soon, the chirps and slivery syllables will give way to "mama," "dada," other words. "Bird." "Tree." "Book."
Then, "want more corn, daddy."
Then, it'll be "dad, can we read this book?"
Then, soon enough, "Dad, that's my bus. I've gotta go. I love you!"
It won't be long.
Every day is one day less with this version of our little boy. Soon, too soon, he will be evolving and changing into the new version. He's already shed so many skins: the embryo in R's tummy, the formless larva baby who cried and slept, the baby who lay on a blanket and batted at toys, tummy-time baby, rolling baby, crawling baby. Solid-food baby. Cow's-milk-drinking baby. Changes, changes. Sleeping-in-daddy's-arms baby gave way to sleeping-on-bed baby gave way to ... well, okay, he's not quite in the crib yet. But it'll be happening soon. I know it's coming, and yet I'm already missing the boy that's still here, already sad that he's changing in ways he hasn't even changed yet. He's constantly moving, learning, changing, and all I can do is watch him wake up every day and see how much he's changed since the last sunset.