Thursday, January 8, 2015

When the big kids are yours

My oldest will be seven years old soon.  Seven years old.

It's unbelievable, really.  I am the mom of a big kid.

I remember looking at them.  When Aiden was a baby.  And even though I didn't think I'd ever sleep again or eat a meal without a baby in my arms or shower more than once a week, I felt kind of bad for these parents of big kids.

And I may have even thought they were jealous of me, a bit.  What with my cute little baby.  Because there they were.  With their big kid.  Whose cheeks and thighs were no longer pinchable.  Whose teeth were either missing or looking much like over-sized Chiclets.  Who wore pajama pants at night in place of footie pajamas.  And really, what is parenthood without the soft weight of a baby lying on your chest in his footie pajamas?

But just so you don't worry too much, parents of very little ones, I'll let you in on something.  When the big kids are yours, they're awesome.

I mean, super awesome.  This past year is honestly the first time in my parenting career where I've looked at a child of mine and thought, Oh my gosh, I've created an actual human being.

I'm starting to see small signs that Aiden may one day be a contributing member of society.  That one day, and sometimes even now, he'll have something to give instead of taking, taking, taking.

Babies and toddlers are selfish little creatures.  I know, because I have one of those too.

Sure, they give back in smiles and laughter and love.  But that's it.  And really, don't we just say that to comfort ourselves for that fact that we are constantly giving, giving, giving.

But big kids.  Big kids can actually make decisions that aren't always best for them.  They sometimes decide the thing that is best for someone else.  Not for their siblings, of course.  But others, who they aren't in a constant struggle for equality and justice with.

Big kids can take their own showers and wipe their own butts and clear the table after dinner.  You don't have to dress big kids, or put on their shoes.  Big kids will magically learn to read their own books.  (It is magic, right teachers?  Because one day he just came home from school and started reading.  And I'm attributing it to some special teacher witchcraft or something, since, after agonizing over three letter words for what felt like eternity, I assumed it was physically impossible.)

Big kids buckle their own seat belts and can often times be reasoned with.

Toddlers will never, ever be reasoned with.

The other night Aiden was lying in his top bunk, torturing his brother below.  When he was little I would count to three before putting him in a time out.  As Finn's cry/screams escalated I found myself calling up the stairs, "That's one!"

He stopped the teasing (fairly) immediately, but I couldn't stop myself from laughing.  What would I have done if I got to three?  Put him in a time out?  The idea seems ludicrous to me now.

Of course he's not perfect and we use other forms of punishment (ie, taking away weekend technology!), but it's been years since I gave Aiden a time out.  And the thought of him sitting on the bottom step with his lanky legs stretched out before him while a timer ticks away six minutes is nothing short of hilarious.

See, parents of toddlers who are currently attempting to hold your small child in a chair with your full body weight (and still not winning), big kids aren't so bad!

And let's be honest.  The little ones are great too.  Now, with my third, I can finally say that without gritting my teeth and dying a little bit inside.  There really is nothing like a toddler who can completely control you by opening and closing his fat little fist and saying, over and over again, "Mum on, Mama."

But these big kids (and yes, I realize they will get much bigger), are pretty stinking awesome too.

Not until they're yours though.

And when they are, you'll see.  You've created little human beings too.


  1. They get even better as adults. It's day I realize they are independent, wonderful adults. And I really like them!

    1. That made me smile:) Good to know it gets even better!