Thursday, April 30, 2015

My Kids Are Growing Up

My kids are growing up and I don't know how I feel about it. We've finally gotten to the point where middle of the night wake ups are few and far between. I know what a solid eight hours of sleep feels like again. Naps are now nearly non-existent and dear god do I miss nap time. While we don't get the sanity recharging time in the middle of the day, we are no longer bound by the eat, sleep, poop schedule our small humans tied us to. We've been freed from the baby jail and can now leave the house on a semi-whim if we wish (we have 3 kids. I'm pretty sure getting out of the house will always be a challenge).
When we go places I no longer have to carry half of my house in a jumbo size suitcase that retailers call a diaper bag. Instead we can easily leave home with a jumbo size purse and baby wipes. We no longer have to mess with cramming a giant stroller into the back of the minivan. I can tell two out of my three kids to get in the van and buckle up without taking a half hour to make sure everyone's car seat straps are properly adjusted.
While we ditched the diaper bags, we gained two big things which makes every outing nearly terrifying: tantrums and opinions. Instead of an infant carrier with an infant screaming to be fed, I'm now toting behind me three children who insist that whatever they want to do is the "right thing to do."
When they ask for a drink of water, I can tell them to get it themselves. The sippy cups have vacated my cupboards and were replaced by every character cup you can imagine. They can take themselves to the bathroom and wipe themselves. We're beyond the point of highchairs, small cutesy clothes, bibs, cribs, or diaper changes. They've stopped relying on me for theirevery need. We can even have a family game night and they'll participate--with playing time mainly consisting of arguments between the kids while I play referee. It will be a few years before we can get a game played all the way through without tears.
Yet, then I find myself wandering around the baby section at Target or driving past Buy Buy Baby, places where I spent half of my early motherhood years at, and I suddenly miss when my babies clung to me. The all day eating sessions, the middle of the night cuddles, the early morning giggles, the nap times when I'd nap too. I miss pushing a stroller and scoping out all of the other mommy's strollers at the mall (stroller envy anyone?). I miss my oldest son's tiny voice telling me "no" and when holding my hand in the parking lot wasn't considered lame.
A part of me wants them to stay little forever, to keep their voices small and their worries simple. To witness the wonder of the new things they find. The other part of me rejoices in the long 9 hours of sleep I got last's such a tough call.