Baby blues

My 9-month-old daughter has this pair of one-piece, footed pajamas that are sized for a 6-month-old. Red and green polka dots cover the little arms and legs. She got them for Christmas but now months later, I keep stuffing her into them.
It has gotten to the point where I put her chubby little legs and arms in and then have to stand her up, grab on to the shoulders of the PJs and gently encourage the rest of her in. Sort of like how you shake a pillow down into a pillowcase that has shrunk in the dryer.
The arms of the pajamas now end at her elbows and it is getting tough to maneuver the zipper over her big belly.
The other night, I was thinking that it’s time to toss the PJs into our “donate” pile, where mountains of other clothes lie in wait of another fresh little baby.
But then I thought that maybe if I keep putting her in clothes that are a little snug, she won’t grow. Kind of the way certain plants and even little creatures won’t outgrow their tiny homes.
Could I hang onto this baby phase a little longer? If I tuck her chunky thighs into too-tight pants, could I freeze time?
This is my last baby, unless my scheme to have a “planned OOPS” is successful (don’t tell my husband that).
My baby can’t possibly be ready for new pajamas already. She can’t really be ready to walk. She can’t babble or wave or clap. Not yet. I’m not ready for it yet.
I’m not ready for her to hit the phase where she’d rather toddle than cuddle.
I’m not ready for those moments when she tells me she wants to stay and play with her friends and not come home with me.
Can’t I keep my baby for a little while more? I need more time.
I need more gentle snuggles right when we wake up and just before we fall asleep.
I need more outstretched arms and pouty lips begging for me to hold her.
I need my baby to be a baby. Not forever. But at least for now.
There is nothing like a little baby with fuzzy hair who wants to nuzzle into you when she wakes up from her nap.
I’ll never have that again. I’ll never again get to nurse a sweet little angel to sleep.
Gone will be the days of toothless grins and unsteady legs that want so desperately to stand on their own.
I have an ache when I think about no more baby socks, no more chubby baby cheeks, no more baby coos.
I know I have to let her grow. She will only blossom if I let her.
I just want a few more moments. That’s all I need.
So can she still wear the red and green polka dot pajamas? The ones that have been washed so many times they are fading. The ones that have a slight stain from the time when she stayed in them all day and smashed a banana into the sleeve without me seeing.
The ones that make me feel like she will be my baby forever.
She can wear them one more time tonight, perhaps, and then I can start to let go. Just a little.

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