Subtle Shifts

It didn’t happen all at once.

It never does.

But this weekend we finally were blessed with a slow, no agenda Saturday so I decided to do one of my good Saturday House Cleanings that I haven’t been able to do in months.  You know, scrub everything really well all at once.  The kind of clean that when you go outside to get the mail and come back in it smells like a mixture of lemon Pledge and Windex? Yeah, it was awesome.

But once I had the house all cleaned, and Charlie was napping and Cort and Eddie were outside, I saw what had happened while I bustle through our days.

The subtle shifts that have been happening in our house.

Once all the toys had been properly put away to make room for vacuuming and dusting, I saw the empty space where the baby swing once stood.

I saw the spot next to the couch where we used to keep the bounce seat.

I noticed that I could see our side table’s shelf with a picture of Cort and me because it wasn’t covered by the boppy or the bumbo seat.

The chunky trucks Eddie used to play with were long stashed in a drawer and out the table was a magnetic “discovery” truck set that involved fitting pieces together.

In the past nine weeks that I have been back to work, my infant very slowly morphed into a clapping, laughing, rolling, army-crawling baby.

When I wasn’t looking, my toddler ditched his diapers and his squeeze tubes of yogurt and grew right up into a Big Boy.

My baby feeds himself puffs and melon and banana.

My big boy assembles trucks and builds towers and asks questions and washes his own hands and face after dinner.

My baby has 3 and a half teeth.

My big boy stands up by the toilet to pee.

The infant carrier has been permanently stuck in my truck and a convertible seat has been installed in Cort’s truck.  Eddie has upgraded his car seat to one that can convert to a booster and is good up to 100 pounds.

I just filled a tub with out-grown 6 months clothes to be stored away, possibly forever.

I filled another tub with 3T shirts and pants that don’t fit anyone in this house.

Eddie asks me big questions that I don’t know how to answer.

Charlie needs me less and less for things like falling asleep and holding his bottle.

It’s so cliche to say they “grow up so fast,” but they do. And it happens right in front of you without you knowing…until it’s too late.

Charlie’s chubby little hands with the dimples remind me that Eddie’s are thinning out and feel rough from play.  Charlie’s complete trust in us to always be there for him reminds me that Eddie is developing doubts and fears.

This juxtaposition of having an almost 8 month old and an almost 3.5 year old reminds me that they are little for such a very, very brief time.

Each age and phase is so short, so fleeting.

Charlie’s days of being a squishy little pile that just eats and sleeps are completely gone.  I know the days were fading when I went to work 9 weeks ago, but any hint of them is completely gone now.

I really do love this new shift that is happening, it’s just shocking to me how it seems to come out of nowhere, yet at the same time it’s been happening every day right in front of me.

One day this…

And then all the days that feel so much the same, but are subtly very much different happen.  And I have this…

They amaze me every single day, these creatures I am blessed to call my sons.

Even if they are growing up way to quickly.

About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. <3

  2. I know, I know. *sniff*

  3. Mine are a little bigger, but I was JUST thinking about this. I left the house and forgot Dylan’s “accident” bag in the house. Even a month ago I would have HAD to go back, but I kind of shrugged and realized our little hour-long errand would likely be ok. It was. And it was a weird feeling.

  4. AH! you’re making me tear up!! I seriously cannot wait for Harlow to have a little sibling. This is absolutely beautiful, Katie.


  5. Adorable.

    I was looking through photos and videos of my little guy and can’t believe he isn’t a squishy little baby anymore. Sigh.

  6. How very well you put into words what’s happening all around us. I look at my three in wonder… at the way they’ve grown, what they can do and how they do it. My boy, the oldest, is now a head taller than my MIL… How did that happen? Before I know it, he’ll be taller than me. I miss him being little and seeing your boys always makes me remember with a smile on my face!

  7. Oh I can relate to this only too well! Two weeks ago Bella took her first steps and I have to say that I am not ready for my 8 month old to become a toddler already! We sorted the bedrooms out this weekend too and now that my eldest is 8 nearly half of her room can be either thrown away or donated elsewhere but I just cannot do it! They all got sick of me saying “Oh, remember this?!” all day but I am just too darn sentimental for my own good! They really do grow so quickly and this time is SO precious. Another lovely post missus 🙂

  8. My goodness we make cute kids. 🙂

  9. I have a 12yo, almost 9yo, and my ‘baby’ is less than a month away from turning 6 and I still have these moments. It’s a joy and heartbreak all at the same time. Such an awful and wonderful thing being a mother and watching our babies turn into kids who turn into actual people! I’m not sure I will ever stop missing my chubby little sweet smelling bundles that were fresh and new, or that I will ever go any amount of time without stopping to freak out about how old they are, or how big they’ve grown, but like you said, the new phases are pretty cool too! Amazing to see the world come to life all over again through their eyes. Each age really does come with some very special stuff. So glad we know how to stop and really enjoy them before they are gone forever!

  10. Yes, Cort — you guys DO make amazingly cute kids! 🙂

    My youngest is 10. She’s almost as tall as me. She’ll still cuddle up next to me and asks for help for things we both know she can do by herself. But we both play along that she’s still my “baby”… incredibly smart, mature, thoughtful, nearly 5 foot “baby.”

  11. This post is just so damn powerful! I too notice these shifts. I don’t like that they happen but they need to.

  12. This post kind of gives me the sads. I’ve spent way too long under a veil that I have already missed too much. Life, she’s a cruel bitch.

  13. TheNextMartha says

    So sweet. When I clean out my younger sons closet and donate the small stuff, I know how you feel. Sniff.

  14. We bought our house 11 years ago when our kids were not quite two and four.

    We picked it because the elementary school two blocks away was THE BEST in the area; and of course school is…well…it’s important to our family. Duh.

    Every time I walk our dogs, I pass that elementary school. For seven long years, my children ran around on those playgrounds and learned in those classrooms.

    In seven short months, my daughter will “promote” from her 8th grade middle school to HIGH SCHOOL. Not only do my BABIES no longer attend that elementary school, they will both be in high school.

    High school.

    So yes:

    “And then all the days that feel so much the same, but are subtly very much different happen. And I have this…”


  15. It happens all too fast.

  16. Bittersweet sighs… xoxo