My kids are 4.5 years old and 2.5 years old. Both are my babies, but please DO NOT, under any circumstances, say that to them these days. C remembers being a baby and the things he used to do (nurse, sleep in the crib, be in a baby carrier) and they toys he used to play with, but he is firmly a BIG BOY now and is even concerned that his clothing size is the right number for him!! L is just realizing that she is a "big girl" and she justifies all that she does now. "Mama, big girls nurse too. Mama, big girls go uppy in carriers too. Mama, I not a baby, I a BIG GIRL!!"
And I have just realized that although they will always be MY babies, they really are NOT little babies anymore and therefore...
....I can not be the 'baby' mama anymore.
It is time for me to grow up and graduate out of the baby stage and transition to this new (and rather scary) phase of parenthood.
For those you who have been following along with my posts you will know that a few months ago, Natural Urban Dad and I were in talks about having another child. Suffice it to say that we have come to a collective agreement and what is going to work for all of us is the status quo. Two kids, two adults, two hands....you do the math. It is what works for us and is what is going to keep us a strong family unit.
And all along the way, in all our talks and negotiations, the theme that kept recurring was one of all of us growing up. Our kids are growing up and contrary to what you would think this would mean, ie, more independence, less reliance on us for everyday tasks, etc., what I have noticed is that they actually NEED us even more right now and in a completely different way than before.
Take my son. He is a sensitive, inquisitive, smart cookie with a quirky personality (he gets that from me I guess ;)). He also seems to have the sharpest hearing in the history of four year-olds and if he hears something he does not quite understand, he will ask you about it and not quite asking until he gets it! This is a totally awesome occurrence. Except when you are not prepared for it.
Yesterday, as we were driving to my niece's 12th birthday party, C pipes up from the back seat of the car.
"Mama, is HATE a bad word?"
Me: "Uhm....... well......, what do you mean?"
"Hate. What does it mean?"
Me: looking over at Natural Urban Dad and mouthing, "Do you want to answer this?" and him staring off into space like he can't hear either of us.
So, as I rolled my eyes at the NUD at my side, I told C this, "Hate is a mean word that some people use when they really, really, REALLY do not like something. It is a word that can hurt people's feelings and one that is not very nice to use."
That seemed to satisfy him for the moment, but it is just one example of the many questions and thoughts that he is processing these days and often needs our help to sort out. Today we had a fun time over breakfast discussing what our emotions are and making the appropriate faces to go with them. Our conversations with C really have gone to a new level as of late and it is awesome and extremely scary at the same time!
And L at two and a half, has suddenly become the "WHY" kid. Why Mama? Why you put make-up on? Why that lady have crutches? Why we going to swimming? Why? Why? Why? I love that she wants to know EVERYTHING, but OY, some days it is exhausting! And for some reason I just keep answering her multitude of questions and that just makes her ask why even more.....
My kids are also very sensitive with regards to their time with me lately and the whole work-life-parenting-and-being-an entrepreneur-thing is requiring some extra special juggling skills these days! I am working on it, but it is not easy. It is not easy to be saying over and over, "Mommy just has to send one more email and then we can go build your Lego castle/play outside/have a tea party/etc....". And for some reason, "Do you want to come and help Mommy work (ie, pack up orders) does not have the same appeal as it used too!
They just need more from me now on an emotional level and in a way that for some reason I was not fully prepared for. I am sure there are books out there that tell you all about this stage of parenthood (I swear I have a copy of Playful Parenting around here somewhere!), I just have not read them yet!
So, here I go. Out of my cocoon of babyhood and into the great butterfly unknown of parenting my NOT-babies-anymore babies!!
My babies on the BIG KID swings!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.