Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Joys of Older Kids

I enjoy every stage of my kids' lives even more than the one that came before. I loved the baby stage, with their warm, fuzzy smells and their soft coos, but it was hard, hard, hard. I remember that time with a mixture of rapture and revulsion. I was rarely clear-headed since I was so sleep deprived, and my kids were all closely spaced, so I was insane for a good number of years. Along with the glowing cherubic faces are harsh memories of piles of diapers (we had all three in cloth for a long period), horrendously painful breasts, and days where my biggest success was being able to pee in peace at least once.

Then we moved on to the toddler and preschool years. I loved that stage even more. The kids were mobile and starting to become self-sufficient. I mean, they could actually talk! And walk! How great was that? My days of lugging a kid in each arm, with one screaming from across the room were over! But I still had to wipe butts and dig boogers out of noses, so it wasn't all cherries and sunshine.

Then school age. How delightful, the joys of watching my children happily swinging their lunchboxes as they trotted off to school. They began to attend birthday parties and had real playdates (not fake playdates, which were actually mom playdates). But with that came birthday parties (definitely a love-hate relationship I have with those), homework, and having to play CandyLand and Chutes and Ladders until I wanted to puke. Still, I loved that stage even more. I was beginning to see my children develop their personalities.

Now, with my youngest in elementary and my oldest in middle school, life is brilliant. I've always tried to talk to my children as equals, but now they can actually respond to me as equals! I don't have to explain the meanings of jokes as often, and they can get their own breakfast (or lunch or dinner), and they can discuss the situation in Somalia or the stock market crisis and know what they're talking about. I'm seeing the beginnings of the adults they'll end up being, and it's a beautiful thing. 

And ya' know what one of the best things is? I'm not playing CandyLand anymore. Tonight my oldest, youngest, and I huddled around the computer and played physics games. We laughed and cheered and clapped. 

Behind their backs, I looked at my boys with delight and wonder, and I marveled at how I ever got to this point.

Yup, I can't wait to see what the next stage brings.


  1. Camille, hurray! Love that you're blogging now. Great post, too!
    I promise to leave you comments, because I know how lovely it is to receive them. (hint, hint,:-))

    P.S. The sign you made for S. totally cracks me up. Can I have one for my room, too???

  2. Ooh, maybe I should market those signs, huh? I know of LOTS of females who could use one!

  3. Ooh, ooh, me too! Also thrilled that you're blogging. I've always loved your insight over on AAF...

    Specifically, thanks for this reassurance that it keeps getting better and better. I see that with my daughter already (at the advanced age of 3 3/4 :), but nonetheless, I find myself lamenting the "loss" of my (likely) last baby, newly walking at 10 months. No, stay a baby! Well, okay, I bet you'll make a pretty great kid, too, so I guess you're allowed to grow up...

  4. As always I love to hear stuff like this from you. For me, I just can't imagine that the kids could ever be more lovable or adorable than they are right this minute at the crux of turning 5. I want time to stop still right now.

    I am glad to know that things can just keep getting better!

  5. The bittersweet thing is that my oldest will be gone in SIX YEARS! That gives me hives to think about it!

  6. Camille,

    I absolutely love what you say about sleep deprivation making you "insane." Thank you for sharing this. That is so true. I could not be myself...whoever the new self after parenting was supposed to be anyway...during that phase (which for me lasted a little over three years, and only with one child!). I was this person frantically doing my best for my child, and that was about all. But you know, once I started getting sleep and starting waking up and figuring out how to have some of my own interests again...and became more focused on my relationship with my husband again...the initial transition was still really hard. I feel more on top of my game now, but I think what that phase taught me was that there will always be transitions. Even when change is embraced, there are usually growing pains associated with it.

    That understanding, about growing pains associated with growth, has increased my empathy for others as well (my child, my partner, my own parents, etc). Thanks for sharing your experiences here! Sorry I'm late to the game.