“The days are long, but the years are short,” a friend told me when Stella was about six weeks old. She still had her nights and days mixed up, and I was a sleep-deprived ball of hormones. I remember thinking at the time every day as “the witching hour” approached around 5:00 PM, “How does this get easier?” “Will I ever sleep again?” “How do people do this multiple times?”
My sister-in-law said to me, “Trish, it’s all about ages and stages. Just when you get her to sleep through the night, then the teething will start. And then she’ll be teething for about two to three years. And just when you get through that, there will be the next steps of potty training, and then school, and then, and then…” I couldn’t see it at the time. While I knew all of these developmental milestones were ahead of us, it was hard to imagine.
What I’ve learned over the last thirteen months is each age and stage has its highs and its lows.
For example, the newborn stage comes with highs of a brand new, sweet smelling baby who is squishy, cuddly and irresistibly adorable … and lows of sleepless nights, postpartum body/image issues, anxiety and hormones.
Then you blink and a whole year has passed by, and you’ve done it. You’ve found a way to appreciate each age for what it is, accepting the lows and celebrating the highs. Faith, patience, and a whole lot of humor are what will help us on this roller coaster called parenthood.
Last week I looked at Stella, so “grown up” looking all of a sudden. Just on the verge of walking, babbling up a storm, laughing out loud all the time and being generally all around adorable. I was putting her shoes on and she was holding my car keys. “OK, Dolly, let’s go, we need to get you to school,” I said, and as I took the keys out of her chubby little hand, she looked at me, eyes welling up with tears. She literally threw herself on the ground, hands slapping the ground, legs kicking wildly, screaming at the top of her lungs. Oh. My. Goodness. My daughter was having her very first temper tantrum. It hit me over the head like a ton of bricks. The transition from baby to toddler is happening, and with all the good that we are enjoying at this age and stage, this is going to be a part of it, too. Rules and discipline, and then, and then, and then…
Our ride is still just beginning. There will be tough times and tears, disagreements and challenges, but there will be smiles, giggles, and so many unforgettable memories made along the way. I might miss some sleep, but I don’t want to miss a single moment.
This post rings so, so true for me. With Hadley, I am much more able to appreciate each stage for what it is, knowing it will be gone SO very soon. Right now she’s learning to stand up, thinking about steps, curious about everything … and it is so fun to sit back and watch (with T I think I had a camera in his face the whole time!) With Thatcher, he is so funny right now, repeating everything … but man is he defiant. And that is the hardest part of the toddler years … wondering how to parent from a positive place but stand your ground ALL.DAY.LONG.
yes. what Ashley said. I am dealing with defiance and boundary-testing- every.single.day. and it is so hard to parent and discipline in a positive manner when your toddler is testing every limit you have!
I keep telling myself, this too, shall pass. 🙂
The stages never end! As a mom of a 16 year old, 13 year old and 9 month old, take my word for it. It never gets easier, it just changes as you will and your ability to cope. Right now my heart stops every time my daughter is behind the wheel, my 13 yr old has an emotional outburst (puberty or jealousy of the baby?) and wee man is trying to pull up on everything and is determined to visit the ER before he’s a year. But with the 13yr old I know it’s a phase and it will pass and I know the baby will be bruised for a few years (especially when I schedule photos). I know I am still going through phases and my mom tells me to stay calm, pray and don’t stress. I’m really trying to take her advice.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Trish. Nathaniel is so cute, “reading” his little books, pushing his tractor, and talking up a storm. He is so much fun to play with these days. BUT, he’s also kicking and hitting and biting. That is definitely the low right now.
This is so true Trish!
I am loving this stage where we’re able to communicate more and experience the delight with Addie when she gets something for the first time.
But, oh the toddler meltdowns & tantrums & testing her boundaries…
I love your post Trish! The second time around I was even more excited about each milestone because I already knew what to expect having Elia less than a year and a half earlier.