Last week, my oldest turned 12. I’m sure I’ll regret saying this, but I enjoy having a pre-teen … For the most part, anyway. I could do without the sass and the smell, but having a middle schooler is liberating. I don’t have to rush home to meet the school bus and I don’t have to take kids with me to run errands. I don’t have to entertain the boys while I’m trying to write or cook dinner and I don’t have to tie their shoes for them. I can even go to the gym in the morning while they sleep and know that they will figure out breakfast for themselves without burning the house down. Life is good.
I, for one, am happy to have graduated from diapers, bottles and sleepless nights. I’m even happy to be beyond the toddler years. Frankly, I kinda wish we didn’t have two more years of elementary school to live through (read my post about why third grade stinks here). Simply put, I like having older kids. The conversations are better, the music is better and the games (sports) are better. Plus, they are, for the most part, self-sufficient. Everyone can shower and dress themselves. Everyone can wipe their own bums and brush their own teeth. Everyone can cut their own food and clean up after themselves … as much as boys clean up, that is.
I’ll admit, some days I miss my sweet, chubby-cheeked munchkins … Their impromptu snuggles, their infectious giggles, their adorable mispronunciations and their naive rationale.
But truth be told, most days I don’t miss the past. Maybe it’s because I had colicky, reflux babies and those first years were rough. Maybe it’s because I’m a Type A neatnick and everyone knows that babies, toddlers and school-aged children are messy and uncontrollable. Or maybe it’s because my maternal side dried up with my ovaries when I went through menopause. All I know is, for the most part, I do not miss the younger days. Here are my top 10 reasons why:
- I don’t miss having my house overrun by toys.
- I don’t miss lugging around an oversized diaper bag and cumbersome stroller.
- I don’t miss listening to nursery rhymes, Music Together songs or Kidz Bop.
- I don’t miss watching Barney, The Wiggles and all the other ridiculous kids’ shows on The Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
- I don’t miss super heroes and cartoon characters on every shirt, pajama and backpack.
- I don’t miss wiping noses and bums.
- I don’t miss being relegated to the kiddie pool.
- I don’t miss eating in noisy, sticky, kid-friendly restaurants.
- I don’t miss carrying crayons, toy cars and lollipops in all my handbags.
- I don’t miss the teething, potty training and sleepless nights.
I realize life is simpler when kids are younger. Bigger kids, bigger problems, as they say (not to mention more difficult homework). Soon I’ll have to worry about drugs, alcohol, dating, college … but I’m not there yet, thankfully. That is why I think the stage I’m in now — with boys who are not quite teenagers yet, but not little kids anymore either — is the sweet spot. They still kiss me good night (air kisses count, right?), they still want my help (sometimes) and they still talk to me (as much as boys talk, that is). So instead of longing for days gone, I am embracing tweenhood and keeping my fingers crossed that the journey into the teen and young adult years is drama-free. Wish me luck!