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Bye Bye Baby Swings

This past week has been kind of a momentous one for my eight year old, Holden. After years and years of waiting, measuring, crying, stretching, and shoving truck loads of green vegetables into his face, he is finally tall enough to ride the “big” coasters at theme parks. The ones that many adults won’t even go near. The dropping, twisting, spinning, looping, terrifying metal monoliths that make up the sky near our house, because we live right down the road from Busch Gardens (VA).

We’ve been frequent theme park visitors since Holden was about three, and the child never had any fear, so waiting for him to be tall enough to finally ride the best rides in the parks was excruciating. We couldn’t be happier! Well… all of us except Parker, that is.

Parker is six, and Parker is a peanut. Parker is still small enough for most of the little kid rides, but he doesn’t want to be. He has no interest in them.

Watching his big brother get to experience the thrill of a cork-screw filled coaster was just about the most miserable thing he’s ever been through. While Holden was waiting, and measuring, and crying, and stretching, and shoveling truckloads of green vegetables into his face, so was Parker–but Parker is still a full inch away from riding even the coasters with the lowest height requirement (minus the baby coaster at BG- which is all of 30 seconds long).

During Holden’s big day, I did my best to make Parker feel better, telling him that soon enough, he’ll have grown an inch or ten, and it will open up a new world for him, but for now- enjoy what he CAN ride.
I jokingly point to the baby swings. I say this is a joke, and everyone in my family knows it, because we HATE the baby swings. We’ve ALWAYS hated the baby swings. They are the most torturous contraption known to man. It takes 20 minutes to load all the little nuggets into the seats, and to call the motion of it when it finally starts “swinging” is greatly exaggerating. I understand you can’t have tiny toddler limbs flailing around a tiny post all willy-nilly, but as boring as it is to ride, it’s even more boring to watch.

Parker looked at me with eyes that could strike a man dead. He was not amused. Not at all. swings
“I WILL NEVER RIDE THOSE SWINGS!” he yells. “I WANT TO BE FORTY-EIGHT INCHES!”

“No, of course not, I know you do. I was just…. sigh.”

It was at that moment that I looked around me and realized we were surrounded by rides that my kids don’t ride anymore. Ones they used to love, no matter how awful and painstaking it was to get them on and off AND OMFG WHY DO YOU WANT TO RIDE THIS SLOW CRAP AGAIN, and are too big for now. They’re too big for the planes they used to sit in and argue over who got to sit in the front and who got the back like it really mattered (it didn’t). They’re too big for the little balloons that really served no purpose other than to fear your kid was going to be a shithead and stand up and fall out of them because a seatbelt across the lap ain’t gonna hold down a toddler. They’re too big for the weird little flying contraptions, and the jittery horse carousel, and all of the rides in every park that used to drive us absolutely insane because they ate up half the day but you let your kids ride them anyway because they want to and they’re not big enough for anything else, but now they are. And you’re rejoicing- like- HOLY SHIT, I DON’T EVER HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT AGAIN! But at the same time, it’s sad.

I will never miss the baby swings, or the tiny planes, or the jittery horses, but watching my once-baby climb into these metal contraptions and locked into harnesses and go flying through the air, and the other crying about how he wishes he were bigger so he could do the same? I want to freeze time. I want him to enjoy being little. To let ME enjoy him being little. To get on the 30 second kiddie coaster. To measure him, and watch him grow and strain and shovel truckloads of green vegetables into his face for a few more years.

Once it’s over, it’s over. It’s gone. You can’t go back. Your legs won’t fit into the tine baby-sized holes and would require the jaws of life to be removed if you tried. You’re too tall. Too heavy. Too old.

It’s the moment you realize that at one point in your life, you put your baby down and never picked them up again.

The swings, the diapers, the up-all-night-rocking-a-screaming-incosolable-baby-on-2-hours-of-sleep-a-thons, the blowouts, the pacifiers and thumb sucking, the potty training and cleaning out disgusting plastic toilets full of monstrous toddler shit–that part of my kids’ lives is over. My kids are growing up, and I don’t want to stop them, hold them back, and I certainly don’t want to put them back in a Huggies for old time’s sake, but man. I wish they’d slow the hell down!

Posted on March 25, 2016 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment
Holdin' Holden

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  • I’m only 35 and my first “baby” will be 18 in 9 days. I’m going crazy with memories and things I wish I would have done or thought of. Bittersweet thinking soon she won’t need me at all. I’m not ready for this.