Nolan is a typical baby. While these five words may not mean much to most of you, it means a whole world to me. It means that he does things when he's supposed to do them, when I'm not even aware or noticing or looking. He smiles, he rolls in both directions, he lifts his head up, he feeds without throwing up, he engages, he babbles. He's gaining weight. He says 'mama'. He fits into clothes meant for his age. He plays with toys. He is mostly sleep-trained, because I haven't been able to spend too much time carrying him in my arms until he falls asleep like I did with Liam in the beginning. He is so, so strong and sturdy. And he does it all so effortlessly, so naturally, that watching him grow is like watching magic happen everyday.
And even though I don't rave about it all as much as I do when Liam does something new, trust me when I say I'm not taking any of it for granted. Every milestone he hits makes me laugh and cry at the same time. With Nolan, I want to say things like 'he's growing up so fast', and 'he's changing everyday'; things that used to make me cringe whenever someone else said them and all I could think of was, 'not my child'.
But now I understand. Now I know what other parents mean when they say that about their children. When I see Nolan wearing an outfit now that Liam only wore at nine months, when I see how quickly he's learning to do things, how close he is to crawling, I know it's only a matter of time, possibly less than a year, when he catches up to Liam physically and developmentally and then surpasses him.
I am prepared. I am excited. We knew this day would come. But I am also afraid. I am afraid it will hurt, to see Nolan playing the role of the older brother and teaching Liam things instead of the other way around when the time comes. I am afraid of the responsibilities my little Nolie Bear will have to grow up with, having an older brother with special needs. Already he's learning to wait, to be patient when Liam has a meltdown, when he screams and hits his head. He waits and he watches, seemingly understanding that his brother needs me more at that moment. He takes a backseat.
My lovely, sweet Nolan, the baby of the family, is growing up quickly.
At six months old, he is chatty, smiley, easy-going, gentle and sweet-natured.
Every night, before putting him to bed, I whisper in his ear, "You are kind, you are beautiful, you are strong, you are gentle, you are brave, you are loving."
And he is. All of that, and so, so much more.