The Youngest Child.

I often question how my parenting has gone so askew with the youngest child.

The youngest child who may be twelve before he learns how to tie his own laces, for there is always some sucker who’s in more of a hurry than he is.

The youngest child who will be presented a plate of pasta, often, maybe too often, because you’re just not ready to negotiate today.

The youngest child who will show you how he can hang from the monkey bars, again, and again, and again, you’re not watching, “Mum! Did you see?” and again.

The youngest child who will arrive without a jumper or sweater, baffled that no-one else thought to grab one for him while they were getting theirs?

The youngest child who refused to go to swimming lessons, gymnastic class or tennis, and then did them all with ease on his own.

The youngest child who is never in a hurry – for when the world revolves around your immodest axis, you know that “they” will always wait.

The youngest child who was carried a little longer, and stuffed into a tatty overused stroller, or wrestled into a shopping trolley with a back breaking clean and jerk – because it was just faster, easier.

The youngest child who got to watch the movie, while everyone else was made to read the book first.

The youngest child who will crawl into your bed in the middle of the night, and place your hand on his heart and hold it there. “Feel my heart” he will ask in a sleepy tone with his eyes half closed.

You will whisper “Are you okay, are you scared? Is your heart beating fast?”

And in a tiny, almost inaudible voice he will say “No, just feel my heart, let’s lie really close and feel each others hearts while we sleep.”

And before you can speak another word you will hear his gentle snore, and stroke the stray lash from his cheek.

And you will remember that he’s not just the youngest.

He’s the last.

Anyone else guilty?

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  1. I’m crying as I read this ….. MissM’s our one and only. We get to do all that but once. She’s only 8 but growing up so fast, blink and we miss a ‘phase’. No second or 3rd child coming up the rear to allow us to repeat acts of parenting brilliance, or indeed, not repeat mistakes.
    I’m 50 and mum still refers to me sometimes as her baby girl (I have a slightly younger brother, and of course, he’s the other baby).
    MissM laughs at the thought of me being someone’s baby ….. but we all are, and always will be.

  2. That’s beautiful.

    I had to giggle hysterically at the ‘wrestled into a shopping trolley with a back breaking clean and jerk’. I’ve so done that.

  3. This one is so true in our family: “The youngest child who got to watch the movie, while everyone else was made to read the book first.” Ha ha glad it’s not just me!

  4. Oh thank god it’s not just me! There is 8yrs between my eldest son and my baby, I mean youngest. … My last. 🙁

  5. A gorgeous, moving post.

  6. So true. Thank you for reminding me.

  7. Ahh…tears! I’m 39wks pregnant with my second and probably last so although I could blame hormones I think it was your beautiful writing 🙂

  8. My sister once told me that having kids is the worst and best thing you will ever do. I have an over-tired son sleeping next to me right now. He will be big soon, so I am ok with whatever.

    Beautiful post xx

  9. Aaaah! What a great post. My youngest (the third) is 10 and 7 years younger than his sibs and I’m guilty of a lot of those short cuts. Our doctor told us not to interpret his babbling otherwise he’d never learn to talk! He was a lot older than the other two by the time he could tie shoelaces, partly because I bought Velcro fasteners to save time. And so it goes on!. (I still put him to bed and he’s 9.5 – but I’m sure I did that with the other two as well. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

  10. I wish I had lots of youngest. We snuggled on the sofas outside while he did his reading and learned his poem this afternoon. He’s ten! But I just can’t let it go – I love those snuggles!

  11. Why did i only have two … i should have just kept on going and going 😉

  12. Thank you for putting into words what we all feel about our youngest and last babies.

  13. Very very nice… 🙂
    I’ll be thinking of this tomorrow when my first born will turn 18…

  14. Guilty for sure…

  15. Beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. I have four kids like you. My youngest is almost 14 months. I dont know if she will be my last, but she could be, so when I look at her that thought is always in the back of my mind. Am enjoying the here and now, because they all just keep growing!

  16. So true, keep forgetting my youngest is ‘already 12’, not ‘just 12’.

  17. Oh my God, yes, Kirsty. I also had tears at this. My youngest is 3, going on 2, because of all these reasons. And he has yet to outgrow the wonderful snugglyness that makes me want to keep him a baby forever. This morning, I kissed him, and he said, “Oh, I need a hug too.” And I took ten minutes that I didn’t have in our morning rush just to snuggle. Looove this.

  18. Oh yes, Kirsty. As I read this, I’m holding my youngest for a rare solo cuddle while her sisters are sleeping in. I’m trying to remember to grab these moments while I can 🙂

  19. Yes, totally agree, but my guilt is around the fact I am totally OBSESSED with my last baby and I hope his sisters don’t think it’s a blatant display of favouritism…..I just want to completely inhale him every day he is so divine and I can’t even bear to call him a toddler (he’s 2 and still a baby in my eyes) xxx

  20. I came to the realisation that my baby boy (nearly 4) will always be my baby this year, and we snuggle so much. We did before, but now I know that no more will be coming along. My girl is a great snuggler too, but he is the one that just climbs into bed and tucks himself under my arm. He’s getting a bit big for the one armed pick-up-from-lying manouver but I manage it to get him back to his own bed (I don’t co-sleep well). Oh and he gets jammed into the trolley too. Tears here too. Beautiful writing Kirsty x

  21. Guilt comes with being a parent. But you love him – he’ll be fine!

  22. Guilty as charged. Lacking another baby to displace my youngest, I simply have no idea how to unspoil her.

  23. Well said! My 7 year old (the third) just put her three year old brother (the fourth and final) to bed, reading him stories. With their dad travelling and a late arrival back from work and getting everyone fed and dishes done I kissed the youngest 2 and said “goodnight – go to bed”. After 4 different good night kisses, ones standing on a chair, motorcycle ones and ones just to procrastinate, they actually just went up to bed. I listened in on them reading in my bed while I was doing yet another load of laundry. Too cute! Never would have happened with the first ones.

  24. Yes, guilty as charged! We are foster carers and our youngest is the most displaced by having foster kids. I do think I baby him, trying to compensate for the ways our decisions are hard on him.

  25. Tears are streaming don’t my face, thank you very much! You hit the nail on the head and this post came at such a time for me! My “last” just turned 10. I can no longer pick him up very easily, he no longer needs me as much, but I still make sure to steal the small cuddles that occasionally come! Thanks so much for a post, that made me stop to appreciate any small moment that I am given!

  26. My now 17 yr old is a Mama’s boy. He was 4 before he would talk correctly,with help from the school. He would point and grunt and get what he wanted. I used to yell at his father and brother to stop giving him stuff till he asked properly. He was just so cute, and still is, that he just had to give the look and get what he wanted. He has always been the baby of the family. He was unplanned, not exactly happy to be having him and just the biggest joy once he was born. He has always been a snuggle bug. He is a spoiled brat at times because he’s used to getting his way.

  27. Yes, yes and yes! My number 4 certainly doesn’t know how to tie shoe laces, and I don’t think he can ride a bike…he’s turning 7 in April!!! But every night, when he sits on my lap, and plays with my hair, I am breathing in every single moment. I figure he’ll figure out laces and bikes before uni, but he won’t be sitting on my lap then. I’m making the most of what won’t last.

  28. Oh god yes! I only have 2 children, but the youngest, our last, is the same as yours. Part of me is happy for her to stay little forever. I love her cuddles and that she still needs me. But I am noticing she needs me less, and it breaks my heart.

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