I blamed the cold for what I did last night, but really it is time, or more precisely, the fleeting nature of time.
Petunia cried out at about 10:40. I'd really rather she sleep a little longer before I bring her into bed with us, and some nights she does. Some nights she wakes up even earlier. She steadfastly refuses to settle into a routine. It makes it hard to catch up on the shows on our DVR.
Anyway, I went into her room, and saw that she was still half asleep, on her tummy in her crib. I went over and patted her back, and she found her thumb and whimpered a bit, and started to settle back to sleep. I could tell that she would eventually go back to sleep this way, and I knew that would be a good thing in terms of my goal of getting her to sleep longer in her crib before joining us in our bed. But I could also tell it was going to take a while, and it was cold. My toes were cold, despite the socks I had on. My face was cold. We've been having beautiful clear, sunny days, and beautiful clear, frigid nights here recently, and our 50+ year old insulation just isn't up to the challenge. Every winter, during the week or two that is really cold (by Southern California standards), we say that we should get that fixed, just like every summer, during the week or two when it is sort of hot we talk about getting a whole house fan. But we never do either of these things. (I predict the insulation will get fixed first, because it offends our green sensibilities to know that we're running our heater more than we have to, but it isn't going to get fixed while I'm unemployed.)
So I reached into Petunia's crib, lifted her out, and took her back to bed with me. I told myself that it was because I was cold, and she probably was, too. But really, it was because she is getting so big. She is taking a few tentative steps on her own, and zipping around the place with her little walker/baby stroller. She signs "more" while saying "muh, muh" and giving us her winning smile (this girl's smile is going to be trouble, let me tell you. It is irresistible.) All the signs are telling me that my baby- my last baby- is turning into a toddler. I look at Pumpkin and I can hardly believe that it was only a couple of years ago that she was zipping around the house with her walker, and saying "buh" while she pointed to the birds in our backyard. Now she likes to show me how she can hop, and her vocabulary amazes me. She still snuggles me- she insists on it as part of her bedtime routine- but not in that intense baby way, where you'd swear the baby is trying to reintegrate into your body. I'm tired, and I want more sleep. And yet, before I know it, Petunia will be sounding out words and delighting in her ability to do dot-to-dots, and I won't have any babies left to snuggle right up against me at night.
It was cold. But if I shivered, it was because I felt the passage of time, saw the impending end of our baby years. They aren't easy. They aren't even my favorite stage. But they are sweet in a way that no other stage is.