I’ve been a parent for a little over three years now. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that just as soon as you get the hang of something, it changes.
I’ve noticed that parenthood is all about stages:
The Baby Stage- First you have this cute little baby. You spend hours gazing at her and thinking about how perfect he is (at least, until he poops on you). Your life revolves around pumping/nursing/preparing bottles, changing diapers, washing clothes, keeping track of poops, pureeing food, tracking sleep, researching milestones, and counting teeth. The baby is so helpless. She needs mittens to not scratch her precious face. He can’t roll over. She drools all over herself. The baby can’t do anything at all, but he is so sweet and loveable. Then, the baby becomes:
The toddler is completely irrational and will lose her temper over things like how the big cup won’t fit into the little cup or how you don’t let him splash in the toilet water. If your toddlers are like mine, you will find them on the top bunk or at the top of a swingset if you look away for half a milisecond. The toddler has a few words, but mostly screams to get their points across. You trade morning naps and bottles for tantrums. This gives you a new found sense of freedom and a new found reason to drink wine. The toddler can walk and recognizes words you say, but is still very much your baby. Then that toddler becomes:
You start to reclaim your life a bit during the preschooler years. The preschooler eventually gets potty trained, can put on their own shoes, and can do a few household chores that are actually helpful. But, the preschooler is bipolar. Sweet, hilarious, and cute. He can clearly communicate his thoughts and starts to ask endless thought provoking questions like “is today tomorrow?”. She tells you that you’re her favorite person in the whole world and wants 26 bedtime kisses. But also devilish, rude, and crazy. Put the cereal in the wrong bowl and you might get killed in your sleep. And don’t even try to help the Preschooler try to do something because they can do it all by themselves. It takes approximately 2 seconds to go from sweet, hilarious, cute Preschooler to devilish, rude, and crazy Preschooler. Then one day your Preschooler is:
The Elementary Kid-
Just when you thought you were getting your life back, your kid goes to kindergarten. Now you have back to school nights and parent teacher conferences and PTA meetings and after school sports. Don’t forget to schedule work around those early release and no school days! You have to check her backpack every night because the Elementary Kid tends to forget to tell you when important stuff is in there. You have to look at the lunch menu and pack lunches if necessary, or at least approve the lunches they pack because they will try to pack yogurt and 17 marshmallows and call it lunch. Coordinating their schedules requires a minor in Logistics. You thought the weekend was for relaxing? Fool! Just because you limited your kids to one sport doesn’t mean they can’t schedule a practice, pictures, AND a game on one single weekend. But, the Elementary Kid rocks. They are still sweet and innocent and want to cuddle, but you don’t have to wipe their butts or pick their noses anymore. But you do have to remind them to brush their teeth, because they hate doing that.
I’m sure Tweens and Teens follow the Elementary Kid, but I have zero experience dealing with that so I’ll have to leave that for another post in a few years.
Each stage seems so distinct. We currently have a toddler, a preschooler, and 2 Elementary Kids. Wiggles still has two years before he is an Elementary Kid, but he is getting so big. Potty training is going so well (FINALLY) and 80% of the time he’s the sweet, hilarious, and cute Preschooler. Which makes me feel like I have THREE big kids.
And having three big kids rocks! We can go places without worrying too much about nap time! I can sit and watch them play at the park! I can give them instructions and they actually follow them! We can sit down to have dinner without anyone screaming (some nights)! It makes you almost start to feel like a normal human again and not like a slave to these tiny bald humans.
The husband and I are not 150% sure we’re done having babies. Honestly, I loved being pregnant and I even loved giving birth. I wouldn’t mind doing it again. I just need to find someone to raise the baby and give the baby back when he’s three, because the thought of waking up in the middle of the night/10 diapers a day/nursing every 2-3 hours/planning around 2+ nap times is enough to make me want to go get my tubes tied right now. I see the light at the end of the Baby/Toddler tunnel and it is getting closer and closer.
I’m hitting my stride as a big kid mom.