My kids drive me nuts on a daily basis. But here's why they make it all worth it.
It's been more than three years since I had my last baby. I'm now forty-two years old. I'm tired. My kids drive me nuts on a daily basis. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm done having children.
Last year, I wrote a piece on this very topic. It really is the end of an era. The shop is closed, so to speak. I dealt with the sadness, pain, and uncertainty that came along with having to make such a huge decision.
I know that I'm not alone. In writing the piece, I learned that many other women have similar feelings when having their last child. It's a very common and normal process.
Instead of rehashing all of my old emotions, I wanted to do something different. I decided to write about all the wondrous aspects of having a "little kid."
Being a mom to a five-year-old and a three-year-old has been quite a journey. I know there are many more memories to be made as well, so with that said, let's get to the good stuff. This is why little kids really are the best:
1. They don't need to be fed at 3AM.
I'm going to be honest here and say I didn't think I'd survive the incessant late night feedings, not to mention the constant diaper changes. There were also times when I was thoroughly perplexed as to what my kid actually wanted as he screamed his head off at an ungodly hour.
The exhaustion was no joke. I got on my hands and knees and praised Jesus when each of them decided to sleep through the night. I'm very grateful that I now only have to deal with an occasional midnight plea for water. Evidently, my kids still get thirsty.
2. They wipe their own butts.
I'll be honest again and say that the whole wiping thing was a work in process. However, the thrill and victory of a potty trained child is hard to compare. Potty training itself was enough for me to want to run away to a deserted island and never return.
My daughter gave me such a hard time that I was totally convinced she'd be entering college in diapers. But when she got it, she got it. And we never looked back. I breathed a sigh of relief. We got through it with a ton of patience. And wine, of course.
3. They can hold real conversations with you.
I've been speaking to my kids from the moment they popped out. Initially, they both looked at me as if I had seven heads. But that didn't stop me, and I looked forward to the day when they'd finally answer me back. And boy, did they.
Turns out, these little rugrats have actual opinions and ideas. And it's pure music to my ears.
4. They really do say the darndest things.
I was on the internet the other day and saw a meme of a little girl's journal entry for school. She wrote that she'd be going to Vagina for the weekend. I'm guessing she meant Virginia, but Vagina was more fun to read.
My own son, now three, feels the need to reference his penis in just about every conversation. Occasionally, I get some strange looks at Target, but he's cute and I let it slide. The words of a child are priceless.
5. They develop their own personalities.
When my husband and I took our daughter home from the hospital, we couldn't help but wonder about the little person she'd grow into one day. Did we have a little dancer on our hands? A future artist? A headstrong tomboy? We couldn't wait to see. Each day was something new.
With our son, we had the same excitement and we continue to watch them both change and grow.
6. They can be left alone for more than 30 seconds.
That is, if you're feeling crazy enough to leave. It's a great feeling to be able to set your child down with a toy and have them play independently. The other day, my son was so calm that I was able to take a three minute shower. Next time I'm aiming for five minutes.
7. They "help" you.
As my kids are getting older, I'm doing less and less for them. They can actually find their own shoes. They can pick up their toys. They can help with dinner. They also, on rare occasions, help each other.
Although their "help" can lead to many more messes, I grit my teeth and bear it. It's a lovely stage of life.
8. They're learning independence.
My three-year-old doesn't seem to want to hold my hand quite as much anymore. My five-year-old doesn't need to be told to open her math book and start her homework. They're doing more and more things on their own and with less prompting.
It's bittersweet. I know that one day they'll be completely independent. They'll move out and have their own life. Right now, I'm enjoying watching them be kids. I'm frequently asking time to slow down, yet time doesn't listen.
I'm looking forward to what's ahead, but for now I'll embrace the grey hairs they've given me ... and then go pour myself another glass of wine.