Finally. An aspect to child rearing I can get excited about.
That probably sounds bad, doesn’t it? As a woman—especially one who’s given birth to two beautiful, bright little girls—I’m supposed to have all kinds of cuddly stories about when they were babies and toddlers, right? Gush about how my maternal instincts blossomed from the second they were born? How I’d gaze lovingly at their chubby little bodies?
Sorry, I can’t.
It’s what I expected when I got pregnant, but it wasn’t how things ended up.
I hated pregnancy. Unlike other soon-to-be-moms, I had morning sickness the whole time which left me…um…cranky would be a nice way to put it. Instead of having one of those cute basketball bellies that look adorable in the clingy tops, I spread in every direction for more of a swallowed-inner-tube look. My hair went stringy and my usual disciplined approach to life shifted to something closer resembling a beached whale.
From birth to roughly two or three years old, I wrestled with lack of sleep, a closet that consisted of ratty t-shirts and sweat suits, and haircuts limited to Supercuts. Why bother with more when your clothes end up spit up on, and you don’t make it further than Walmart for weeks anyway?
Remember the Rubik’s cube? How you’d twist the pieces around for hours and usually ended up making the thing worse? Yep, that was me through the entire timespan. Not a thing “natural” about it.
But guess what? They’re still breathing!
The diapers are gone, they all seem to be doing well in class, and they’re healthy. And, despite my early-year-ineptitude, we might have actually made it to a phase of their lives I can get excited about…
Yeah, I never thought I’d say that. From the time my hormones kicked in to the time I left for college, my mom and I were like Tyson and Holyfield. So the day the doctor told me I was having a girl, I seriously questioned the wisdom of what I’d gotten myself into with motherhood.
Well, puberty is here. But instead of building a wall between me and my oldest, it’s knocking some down. She talks to me. Not just about fourth grade math (which makes me want to jam a stick in my eye), but about feelings. She’s spreading her wings, wanting her own room and to decorate it in a way that matches her style. Flexing her independence in way that says, “Look what I can do!”
I get that. I can relate to it. And maybe that’s the difference. She’s reached a point in her life where we’re bonding on a deeper level. Growing a relationship based on connection and understanding instead of dependence.
So. Freakin’. Cool.
So, here’s my question. If you got to pick a specific time period in a kid’s life to spend with them and help them grow, which would it be? What part feels the most natural to you? Infant? Toddler? Preschool to Preteen? Young Adult?
I’m curious to see if I’m (as usual) the odd-woman out.
Note to self: Bookmark this blog for reference later. You may need to remind yourself of your current joy the first time she tells you she has a boyfriend.