Sunday, September 25, 2011
There's One In Every Crowd
This one, my friends. Oh, this one.
I love her, but still we have had some rough going over the last four months, she and I.
She has reached the age that tries to defeat me. 12 to about 19 months absolutely kills me. It was the age that tried mightily to persuade me to make Francie an only child.
This is the age when my children's vocabulary is not nearly matched to their language comprehension or their manual dexterity. They want things they don't know how to name. They can follow simple directions, but they can't manage to keep up with the big kids. They know what they want, but they can't get it.
This disparity causes frustration. A LOT of frustration.
Mopsy's got an independent streak a mile wide that is continually curbed by her need to be in constant contact with me at all times. Not just in the same room, not just near me, I mean constant physical contact.
She will follow me from room to room, crying and clutching at my leg. But when I pick her up, she will cry to be put down and run. If I am sitting and feeding the baby, she will insist on being on my lap at the same time. Right next to me is not nearly good enough.
It can be somewhat . . . draining.
I went to a party this weekend and I only had Fiver, Sally, and Bun with me. All three are able to tell me what they need, and nine times out of ten they don't need my help at all. I found myself sitting and not knowing what to do with my hands since I had no one in my arms. It felt like a vacation, and I still had three children with me.
I don't like to live in the future or indulge in the "Once the kids are older . . . " thoughts very often. I find that that kind of thinking blinds me to the joys of what the kids are doing right now. But sometimes, in the thick of a harrowing day, I get a little glimpse of the future and I hang on to it.
Do parents of surly teenagers dream of exchanging them for a day with the snuggly babies they used to hold? Do parents of newborns try to imagine the day when they won't be bleary-eyed and covered in spit up? Do parents of toddlers in mid-tantrum occasionally dream of walking around a store next to a chatty, chipper grade schooler?
I like to think so. Actually, I really hope so, because then I won't be the only one who does.
There are joys and challenges of every age, and I know that, for better or worse, nothing lasts forever. For every exhausting moment with my twelve year old or one year old or four month old, there is the ballast of the happy confident skip of the five year old and the eager, wide eyed observations of the three year old.
And when the one year old finally becomes the five year old, I'll cry that it all went too fast. Remind me of that often, my friends.