Posted by: workforcookies | February 20, 2009

Tots to teens

My boss said something that stuck with me yesterday. She said: “I’m finally able to enjoy my kids now that they’re older.” I mentioned this to a friend of mine who writes novels for teens, and she laughed because she could relate completely. I couldn’t at all.

As a working mom, my fear is I’m missing out on the best years with my kids—the time to make up stories, dance around the room and laugh until you think you might pee in your pants. My one-year-old woke me up at 5 this morning. She couldn’t breathe through her nose, so she couldn’t sleep. After I rocked her and put her back down, I couldn’t sleep.

Crazy monkey mind…to-do lists…grocery lists…and then a random thought about my Aunt. I remembered her telling my sister that she was really enjoying us kids (my two cousins, my sister and I) now that we were older.  My sister and I were in college. We’d always suspected our Aunt didn’t like us, but now we began to wrap our minds around the thought that she just didn’t like us as little kids. I remember wondering why you would ever want to have kids if you didn’t like them, but I guess until you can birth a college student, there’s no way around it.

As for me, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about my kids when their college students—I imagine I’ll be proud, but I think I’ll also miss their little kiddness. Sure sometimes, when I’m sweeping Cheerios off the dining room floor for the millionth time, I feel like a waitress at an all-night diner whose shift will never end. But I also love that at the tender age of two, my son laughs heartily when I pretend to trip over the cat, and that he can be so amused by a song I make up about bologna sandwiches, he’ll ask me to sing it again and again and again. I love that at this age he is completely unaffected. He’s not embarrassed when he farts because nobody’s told him he should be.  I want that to last forever—not the farting, of course, but the freedom he has to be himself, with no apologies.

Maybe the age at which you’ll enjoy your children has to do with the time of your life you enjoyed the most. I truly loved being a kid. I went to summer camp every year, and when was too old to be a camper I became a counselor. I loved the silliness of camp, the friendships we formed, the food fights we had and the songs we sang—to this day, if I’m in a bad mood, a rousing chorus of Sippin’ Cider can make me smile. I think childhood is beautiful because it is a time of no inhibitions that fosters creativity and an open heart. It’s not until the teen years that these inhibitions are squelched by an awareness of the self (and other mean spirited teens). For now, I revel in my kid’s innocence—heaven help me when they become teens!

What time of your kid’s life are you enjoying now, missing, or most looking forward to?

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Responses

  1. I have to comment on his not being embarassed when he farts. When he is a little older, it will become PRIDE that he feels. My 6 and 7 year olds LOVE the fact that they can “poot” and make everyone in the car moan and groan over the awful smell. While their Dad asks, “Who is pooting?”, I look around and will always see one of them smiling with a very satisfied (and not at all embarassed) smile.


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