Recently I was in Target with the kids and we were in the check-out line. They were asking to buy literally everything in the little kiosk by the register. I kept saying no, and asking them to help me with the groceries instead. The woman in front of us was smiling and she looked at me and said, “They are precious… enjoy them… you will miss them being little.”
I said, jokingly, “Thank you so much. Yes, I will miss some things for sure… but not everything.”
She laughed and said, “Yeah, that’s true.”
Isn’t it interesting that most everyone looks back early childhood with rose-colored glasses? I suppose the adorableness, sweetness, and softness of those years replace the constant needs, constant attention, and the sheer physical and emotional exhaustion. Maybe the nostalgic wistfulness of “enjoy these days” is all people can think to say in the moment. They mean well, but it feels defeating when someone suggests that we’ve already reached the pinnacle of motherhood when our children are little.
I do wish, every once in a while, someone would say, “If you think this stage is fun, just wait, it’s only going to get better.” That would be so encouraging.
I’ve learned to embrace each stage for what it is; understanding that most behavior in the baby, toddler, and preschool years is going to be unpleasant. They are finding their way, expressing themselves and sometimes just need space. I get it. But if I’m being completely honest, some days are just plain terrible. I have no control over what’s happening. The frustration and lack of patience take over … I lose it… everyone is just a MESS.
Here are the 20 Things I Definitely WON’T miss about the little years:
2 Incessant crying
3 Popping out of bed 100 times per night
4 Food throwing
5 Restaurant meltdowns
6 Physical violence (being hit by a toddler hurts, man!)
7 Limited communication skills
8 Noses and butts that don’t wipe themselves
9 Car seat struggles
10 Collapsing on the floor
11 Ear infections
13 Temper tantrums
14 Choking hazards
15 Goose eggs, bruises, cuts, bloody lips, stitches
16 Limited self regulation skills
17 Skin and food allergies
18 Breathing treatments
19 Trips to the Emergency Room for super high fevers, something called Nurse Maid’s Elbow, broken bones, etc.
20 That it takes 20 minutes to do a 1 minute task
And, to be fair, there are things I will miss about the baby, toddler and preschool years. They are no doubt a roller-coaster, but they are also filled with wonderful, life-giving moments.
Here are the 20 Things I WILL miss about the little years:
1 Tight hugs
2 Little clothes and shoes
3 Baby voices
4 Their smells
6 Dance parties
7 Disney movies
8 Sitting– and fitting–on my lap
9 Fuzzy footed pajamas on a freshly-washed kid
10 Cute character dinnerware
11 Stopping to admire puppies, kitties and picking flowers
12 Being happy over small things
13 Innocent curiosity
14 Looking at me like I’m the most important person in the world
15 Asking me questions like I have all the answers
16 Treasure chest for good behavior
17 Tooth fairy notes
18 Sandcastles on the beach
19 Inviting entire classes to birthday parties (and everyone genuinely liking each other!)
20 Authenticity of their prayers
Okay, I admit I could go on with the things I will miss. I love my kids. They teach me so much. I do think it’s important to admit, though, that there are things I won’t miss about the little years. That doesn’t mean I love them any less.
What about you? Whatever ages your kids may be, what is it that you WILL or WON’T miss as they get older?
P.S. Those of you that are in the little years like me, let me just say… you actually DO have a lot to look forward to. My oldest is almost 8 and it is glorious. You get a little bit of freedom back; you can have meaningful conversations; they are considerate; and they HELP YOU DO THINGS… it’s a whole new world. Just wait!