There are a lot of benefits to having your kids get older and a little more self-sufficient. Not wiping butts quite so much comes to mind. But there are others too. I enjoy watching my children play on their own. Being at a playground and just sitting on the bench while they run amok is something that I’ve come to find pretty peaceful. The last flight we took was amazingly easy; we had helpers with the luggage and they just entertained themselves during the flight. No diaper changes in an airplane bathroom is kind of nice too. I did a ton of cooking this past holiday and my husband remarked at how great everything was and sort of over the top (for me). I threw up my hands and said, “No babies!” It’s definitely a plus—babies, particularly my babies, are demanding. Being able to focus on something for more than 20 seconds is kind of nice.
Kids have a lot of milestones and most of them are fun. Yesterday my daughter reached a milestone that you won’t find in any parenting book. But ask any mother and she’ll tell you about the first time her cherub said, “I don’t love you anymore!” Belle is 4 and I understand that she does love me. She just really thought it was unfair of me to not let her have goldfish crackers when dinner was about to be served. Trust me---I’m not that fragile. But Belle is my last child. My sons have told me many times how much I disappoint them but never her—she was still my perfect little baby. The one that hates to see me more than 10 feet away from her, thinks everything I say is funny or brilliant, kisses me all day like I’ve been gone for months, and repeatedly tells me she loves me more than the number 11. So when she said, “I don’t love you anymore” my shoulders slumped and I realized she was slowly moving over to the dark side.
My two younger kids, Zilla and Belle, are at friends’ houses today. It was just me and my eldest, Duke. I suggested we watch a grownup movie since we wouldn’t have to put up with all the cries of, “That’s too scary! I want to watch Dora!” Duke said, ‘Star Wars?” I smiled and said, “Want to order a pizza too?”
We sat on the couch and I was thrilled that we could get some quality one on one time together. I got up to see if the pizza guy was here and saw Duke leave the room. I said, “Where are you going?” He said he’d changed his mind and wanted to go play Playstation in his room instead. He told me to go ahead and watch the movie if I wanted. Well of course I don’t want to watch Star Wars, I couldn’t be less interested in watching that movie. I only wanted to watch it when he was sitting on the couch next to me.
So, no, I don’t want kids climbing all over me again. But it would be nice if they didn’t switch from absolute need to total abandonment either.