We have these two daughters, you see … and they make our lives fun and interesting. And in the last two years (or so) they’ve made our lives remarkably easy. By that I mean easier than it was when they were toddlers and babies. There are several reasons for this.
- They’ve been out of diapers for a while now — being as they’re 6 and 7 years old.
- They no longer need parental intervention to see their food into their mouths. (Though, more of it than you’d expect still ends up on the floor under the table. But, in that they know how to use a dustpan and brush and can clean up after themselves when called upon to do so, it still technically qualifies as way easier.)
- Dressing themselves and picking out the day’s clothing is something they find quite entertaining, even if their choices occasionally make me shake my head and bite my tongue. (In the interest of honesty, I must admit I don’t always bite my tongue. I have been known to utter something akin to “Uhhh … No.” It’s really the tone of finality in my voice that ends the discussion. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.)
- They’re wonderful at self-soothing and getting themselves to sleep, with a bedtime book, praying together, and a kiss (or five) on the forehead. Sometimes it does require butterfly kisses (which, granted, makes it necessary for me to remove my glasses, thus requiring a little more time) and eskimo kisses all around — but the rules of the house (in this case, the reality and finality of bedtime) are firmly established and it’s all good.
- And, to top it all off, they can now pick up some of my jobs. Bonus! Setting and clearing the table, helping with laundry, making their beds, the aforementioned sweeping of the floor, and the list goes on …
I was not — ever! — the mom who couldn’t wait for my babies or toddlers to get on to the next stage. I never wanted to wish away that favorite snuggly age when I felt so needed, even if I got very few consecutive hours of sleep. But I’m here to tell ya, I’ve been shocked at how much easier it is to parent them right now. I never expected to feel that, much less to say it. But I do. And I am. And I just did.
Please don’t tell me to brace myself for the teen years. I know — really, as much as one who hasn’t gotten there yet can know. I get it. And yes, it has been more of a mental challenge already when they ask about things I have to really think about how to answer. Or when discipline issues become way more complicated. Or when I have to explain how babies get inside a mommy and how, exactly, they get out, or the meaning to words of a song they’ve heard on the bus. And I realize that, without doubt, it’s only going to escalate. I get it.
I’m not trying to rest on my laurels, imaginary or otherwise. I’m just allowing myself to enjoy this albeit brief respite in my parenting career. And, if you catch me on a different day — maybe even tomorrow — I may deny everything I’ve just said. But, for today anyway, I really enjoy my easy kiddos and I love being their mom.