When you first squirt out a precious baby, the prevailing advice people give is “savor every second – it goes by so fast.” Yeah kinda – but it also goes by really slow. Some days with my kid I look at my watch and think “oh wow… only 4 pm… so are you ready for bed or what?”
It was cool when The Munch was a baby. I enjoyed that she didn’t talk. That was convenient because less negotiating. Her not walking meant she had to go wherever I carried her. These were all pluses. Buuuuut, there was also plenty of times having an infant sucked. She shat in the bath when I was in it (*twice), cried every time I tried to save her life by not allowing her to do things like stick her tongue in a wall socket, and she woke up 20 times a night to feed off my chest like a rabid chupacabra. These were all things I could do with out.
The toddler stage was okay. Well, at least I have recovered. Sort of. A lot of the annoying baby stuff became a distant memory, and that felt hopeful. She stopped crapping her pants, so my relationship to her poop transferred from full visual and nasal exposure to simply wiping her butt. She slept through the night in her own bed, learned how to communicate her needs by requesting sweetly “get me out of this fucking bath,” and started picking up my mannerisms. But she would also would freak the fuck out every morning when deciding what to wear, and convincing her of the concept of lateness, or how time actually does exist, was like persuading you that unicorn farts smell like leprechaun burps.
Every stage your kid goes through will present a variety of pluses and negatives. As they age, new problems emerge, but old ones disappear. A complex roller coaster of thank god she doesn’t cry about what socks to wear any more, but holy shit now she cries about what headband!
Now that The Munch is 4 ½ she is becoming a semi reasonable human. She cleans her room, makes her bed, dresses her self, gets her own damn water, is more flexible about what tights she is wearing as long as they are not itchy, or too floppy, and just the right color. She can handle disappointment, understand that she doesn’t always get her way, and use her words to express discontent rather than flying into a fit of rage. Even though I will never get those years back where she was a young irrational being that would scream “I don’t love you anymore” because I wouldn’t let her have a 3rd cookie, I am actually totally okay with her growing up.
If you are always hanging onto the past or anticipating the future, it is hard to value the present. Even though I want to honor these days with my young daughter, I am also super interested to get to know the person she is becoming. The type of girl that practices her cartwheels, loves music, thinks farts are hilarious, has an opinion about everything, is a great friend, and takes risks – like drinking bath water she has peed in.