Are We There Yet? Waiting for the Baby Years to End

Ben cryingMy wife and I share a look every few days, the kind parents of toddlers exchange that speaks volumes without uttering a sound.

It usually comes when one of our children is melting down, pleading to watch one more episode of “Fireman Sam” or refusing to eat just one … lousy … green bean during dinner.

Is it over yet? Are the baby days done at long last?

No matter how adorable your babies may be, it’s natural to long for a time when diapers are but a distant memory and you spend dinner time cutting your own (still hot) food. The feeling still leaves me heavy with guilt. Why would I want to rush past some of the most memorable experiences of my life? There are moments when I stare at my children’s faces, marveling at their tiny features, and wish time could stop and stay stopped forever. I even marvel at how they drive me batty, both in how ingenious their behavior can be and the lengths to which they’ll go in order to pluck my last nerve.

Talk to any parent of teenagers and they’ll tell you how much they miss this stage. I don’t doubt it. There’s so much surprise, wonder and magic packed into every day caring for a baby or toddler it’s impossible to measure. Those parents are clearly repressing other, less glorious memories – the diaper malfunctions, the restaurant trips which ended with ketchup stains the size of a grapefruit and the museum trips spent not looking at art but chasing toddlers around for two full hours.

Is it over yet?

No, not quite, although Eli is very close. He just turned four, and his behavior is getting more mature every day. He still sleeps with whatever he adores at the moment, like his new Broncos pillow from Uncle Jim, but he’s still capable of losing his cool over a simple request from Daddy.

Lil’ Ben answers, “I do!”  in an oddly perfect Southern twang when we ask him if he wants a treat, which makes absorbing his daily rants almost bearable. Take away something he shouldn’t have, and he’ll behave like Donald Trump getting called out for his gravity-defying ‘do.

I’ll miss these moments dearly some day, the good, the bad and the absolutely maddening. Maybe much sooner than I think.

Comments

  1. Beth Trapani says

    Boy I was having one of those, “I can’t wait until you’re 8 and 10″ kind of days yesterday… Sometimes I just get so frustrated with everything having to be a fight/negotiation/challenge. I will look forward to the day when all the little transitions and things that need to occur in a day aren’t such a struggle. And the only meltdown that is occuring is the snow disappearing in March. Can’t wait. Will I miss this? Only parts of it! Of course I love them and the innocence, but some days the behavior is just too exhausting. Then again, we have easily frustrated, challenging kids!

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