Friday, April 24, 2009

Bittersweet Chocolate

Okay, so I know I bitch a lot about parenting, but whatever. I love my kidlet more than anyone or anything on this earth, but then again, this is actually probably why she's still living in my house, come to think of it. I mean, if we didn't love these little ones so damn much our species probably would never have survived. We had another one of those "golden periods" with the little one from about 3 1/2 to just before she turned 4, where all was right with the world. Then BAM, another birthday, and another round of difficult behavior. It seems to happen just before each birthday, and then for a few months after, and then she adjusts to it all, and then we get an easier time of things for awhile.

At the moment, she is 4 going on 13. Moody much? Check. Large and in charge? Check. Laughing hysterically one minute and sobbing uncontrollably the next? Double check. Maybe some people are good at this stage. Hell, she has a school full of teachers who do this for a living. They spend entire days with 2, 3, and 4-year-olds. ON PURPOSE. Sure, they're being paid. But you could not pay me enough to do that job all day long. No way. I can barely handle one 4-year-old for the five hours between after-school pickup and bedtime.

Which means that weekends should be much worse, but somehow they're not. She seems to need the mellower days as much as we do, and then there's the GLORIOUS fact that she won't nap at home, so bedtime is TWO HOURS EARLIER!!! It's Friday night, so we're all very happy. And we're taking her on two special outings this weekend, so she's working hard to maintain halfway decent behavior.

Yet four is also so much better than three in so many ways. She is learning at lightning speed, and we can have long conversations (of a sort), and she can "read" me her storybooks because she remembers every detail remarkably well. She's as smart as a whip, and her imagination is a wonder to behold. I miss some things, like the way she used to make elaborate patterns on the floor with various items, and her cherubic baby face that is now changing and becoming a big girl face (more beautiful, and amazing to behold, so I wouldn't go back to three even if I could). Our little human becomings. They're like the bubbles we blow together in the backyard... so beautiful, yet impossible to catch for more than a moment.

Okay, I'm getting sappy now. Back to the business at hand. Which is this: each stage is more wonderful than the last, but also harder. Is it always going to be this way? I know the teenage years are going to be far, far worse. But I have this idea in my head that there is a set of years that is the "easiest" for parenting. And I figure it starts around five or six and goes until about eight or nine. Maybe even ten. Am I deluding myself completely? And yet when I imagine her in that age range, I have this double reaction: I can't wait, but I also dread it, because I am going to miss her little kidlet self SO MUCH. In spite of how hard it can be, I feel it flying away, and she's getting bigger every day, and before I know it I will hardly be able to lift her, and I'll be proud and sad. I guess that's just the bittersweet chocolate that is being a mama.


catnip said...

It hard to say. Every year seems to get better with most things but there are always a few things that get harder. Like my six is now getting more and more attitude. - mostly from stuff he picks up at school. But he also can read and write and build Lego sets all by himself etc. And despite his very long legs he still climbs in my lap and snuggles.

I miss some things about baby/toddlerhood but there are enough good things about him growing up that I don't dwell on it.

Sorry I wrote a book. I think I'd rather write here than my own blog. ;) I've missed you!

Shanna said...

This was a great post! I'd have to say from my experience that it's all hard at any age. When my first was still little and the other two were babies I remember thinking how much easier it will be when they're 'older'. It doesn't get easier or harder per say but there are always new sets of problems or issues to address. I now have to worry about s.e.x talks with my 10 year old, my middle is going through a lying phase and I'm having a hard time seeing my 4 year old 'grow up'! Just try to enjoy each day for what it is and not focus so much on her age as much as just the joy of her being her! :)