Baptisms, bat mitzvahs, graduations — there are many significant moments in a child’s life. Yesterday, we experienced one of our first: the retirement of the jumperoo.
It was just after bedtime when Jordan got out his toolbox and took the jumperoo apart. He put the pieces in a bag so we could return it to his cousin, who loaned it to us when I was pregnant. I remember his cousin’s wife showing us all the baby things they were loaning us, and it feeling like a farmer showing me farm implements or a finance person talking about stocks — completely foreign. “This is the bouncy seat,” she said, “and here’s a sleep sheep,” and I nodded and smiled and had no idea what the hell was going on.
Ali started using her jumperoo when she was about five months old. She loved it almost immediately. She’s been an active child since day one, even in the womb (“she’s breakdancing,” my doctor pronounced), and now she had a way to move around and expend energy and explore space. She’d reach up for the stuffed toucan hanging down, her face filled with delight, or suck studiously on the butterfly attached by a rubber flower stem, bouncing on her legs all the while. Every so often she’d let out a delighted squeal: “eeeeeeeee!”
For months the jumperoo was part of my daughter’s daily rotation, a stop on the whirlwind of playtime and naptime and diaper changes, oh my. She loved that thing. And now she’s outgrown it, and the parts are in a bag, ready to be returned. And I am so nostalgic. How can you be nostalgic for something that just happened yesterday? But I am. It feels like a chapter is ending. She’s crawling now, and pulling up to stand on her knees, and I keep saying how excited I am for her to start walking but I’m crazy, I don’t want her to walk, I want to freeze time, I want to rewind, I want her back in my womb, I want to do it all over again, I want to experience all of this for the first time — again.
Jordan is wise. “Let’s not get too precious about any of this,” he said, as I mewed about the jumperoo, about chapters ending and time passing and mew mew mew. “Let’s just enjoy where she is, now.” And he’s right, of course, and yesterday, we took her to the zoo for the first time, and she saw otters and red pandas and ducks and cows and she squealed and squealed with delight, and flung her arms in the air with joy and excitement, and tonight she fell asleep on my chest and I eased her gently into her crib, and she curled up in a ball with her thumb in her mouth, and I love her so much, I wouldn’t change a single thing.
Not a single thing.