With all of my kids, I’ve found myself at a time or two (okay, some more) looking forward to the “future seasons of parenting”. The days when the babe will sleep through the night, the day when I don’t have to change diapers, the day when the kids can independently dress themselves…and so on. As they’ve grown, I’ve learned that there really isn’t any perfect age. Each “season” or stage has its own set of pros and cons, of good and bad days, triumphs and struggles. While I haven’t made it through them all yet, here’s what I have experienced so far (or imagine I will).
Newborn (first few months)
Exhausting. Establishing feeding, frequent feeding and if it is your first child, just getting used to the idea of being parents and feeling clueless. Learning to juggle life with being a parent. Finding a groove. These months can be a blur, but I do remember and cherish all the cuddling sessions we had. There was nothing better than holding a tiny, sleeping babe. First smiles. At the same time, I miss the showers that were lost. MO
Up to a Year Old
It became more fun as our kids were able to crawl, sit up and maybe even by this point, take their first steps. Teething during this time reared its ugly head. We had more of an established routine. Babe started to sit in a high chair and eat (and flick) food. Such cute belly laughs. Showers were becoming a bit more frequent now.
Okay, so not everyday is terrible…but I keep in mind a quote from Jerry Seinfeld where he stated that having a two year old was like having a blender with no lid. Toddler hood can be a trip. Enter in the tantrums. We’ve all been that parent with the toddler sprawled out on the floor in the middle of a packed Whole Foods, right? Throwing a tantrum because he couldn’t have a lollipop? Just me? Or when you try to get them to stand while they’re crying but all of sudden they go limp and fall to the floor? Or when they don’t want to sit in their car seat and start doing the arch? On top of tantrums there’s usually some major teething. Molars. On the sweet side, they understand more. They talk more. They want to be like the big kids. I’m enjoying that my current two year old will eat whatever is put on his plate. It’s also at this stage where you start losing the “baby face” and the “boy face” starts to come in.
Once we get past the time of potty training (which, depending on your child can either be an easy or challenging experience), I thought this was a fairly fun stage. Socially and academically they begin to grow, they’re able to communicate more and be more of a helping hand. It’s also at this age, however, where naps usually go out the window. That was too bad. But, with naps out the window meant an earlier bedtime which was great for couple time! I think I especially enjoyed the communication aspect of this age – when they were sick, for instance, I knew exactly what hurt and how bad. This was probably the age where I started to feel like the kids were beginning to be independent.
Other than I feel like I have to hound on homework and the general being sure we have everything ready for school, this too is an overall good stage. They learn about being responsible for themselves and being independent. Sure, they try to manipulate situations. Maybe not so much at the beginning of elementary school, but by the end the embarrassment comes with physical attention and the general hanging around Mom and Dad. It’s also at this age, sadly, where they learn sometimes the hardships of social situations with bullying or just not nice kids. I would say here on out is where I start feeling bad as a parent that I can’t keep them in a bubble – away from hurt feelings.
Tween/Teen and on…
Here is when I begin to guess. Puberty. Hormones ever growing, emotions everywhere. Social media and all that it entails nowadays. Peer pressure. Or really, just pressure -whether it be social or academic. I have to say this is a period I am nervous about and I’m only just sort of reaching the border of it with my oldest. This period from here on out, is why we put all the work into trying to instill good traits in our children. Try to teach them right from wrong. Teach them kindness. Teach them to think for themselves. Teach them to be independent. Try to guide but at the same time, start letting them fly.
On and on I could go. With each difficult day, comes the thought of finding the gratitude for the time I have with my children when they’re young – and knowing we all have those difficult days and times as parents.