Last weekend we took the kids to go visit my family in Port Angeles, and man, it was such a good time. It was wonderful to see everyone again, and it was probably the first trip we’ve taken with the boys that was virtually free of small child ass-painery.

They loved the ferry rides, they loved goofing around at my mom and aunt’s house (and squealing over their parrot), they loved the hotel room we stayed in. They were hyper, loud, and oblivious—but they were good-natured, happy, and so much fun to be with.

For what felt like the first time, we didn’t have to worry about naps, midnight feedings, bottles, epic mid-meal chokebarfsplat disasters, blowout diapers, or mysterious sustained crying fits. The nonstop exhausting grind of caring for very young children while vacationing has been mostly replaced by sheer fun—the four of us hanging out and talking and pointing out new sights and having a great time. This is what it’s going to be like, I kept thinking. (You know, at least until they don’t want anything to do with us.) God, this is awesome.

I always suspected that I would enjoy parenthood more when my kids were older. I don’t know how that sounds—bad, maybe? Like I didn’t enjoy them when they were little? I hope not, because I did. But I think (okay: I know) I’m happier now that they’ve grown up a bit.

Did/do any of you feel the same way? That you enjoyed parenting more once you were past the baby stage?

5267152403_744f9fda59

5267151573_afb46e9746

Comments

82 Responses to “I like it here”

  1. agirlandaboy on December 17th, 2010 10:21 am

    I don’t know if I’d qualify it as “enjoy,” but I’m definitely looking forward to the freedom that comes with having older children. Which is why I’m on board to have another as soon as it’s (financially) possible for us–because as much as I loved having a(n easy) baby, I kind of feel like a whole new world of possibility will open up when we have actual KIDS.

  2. amy a. on December 17th, 2010 10:37 am

    Most definitely. Once everyone can ride a bike, life changes for the better!

  3. melanie on December 17th, 2010 10:43 am

    Oh GOD yes, in fact I would have more than 2 kids, if I could get em’ at age 2!

  4. H on December 17th, 2010 10:47 am

    I have a 19 year old and a 22 year old. I’d say it depends on their personalities and your particular preferences. I say this based on my own kids, my friends’ kids and my nieces and nephews. My advice is to focus on the fun parts of every stage. You never want to be hanging on “I can’t wait until this is over” because pretty soon, they’re gone and you’ll regret it.

  5. Marcie on December 17th, 2010 10:52 am

    Definetly. Mine are 7 & 9 and it’s my favourite ages. No more running away in stores, having fits, crying jags, etc. It does get so much easier. I love this age. They still think mom is great and can lots of things on their own.

  6. dani on December 17th, 2010 11:04 am

    i would say that a good part of why i don’t have kids is that i don’t really have much use for babies. i love kids. but not babies. so to me, this makes perfect sense.

  7. Maureen on December 17th, 2010 11:04 am

    My daughter is 16 now, and sometimes I wonder if I look back with rose colored glasses, but all I can remember is that we really had fun at every stage. I mean of course there was the sleep deprivation and the worry when she was an infant, but I was 33 when I had her, and I knew that came as part of the package. I will say that toddlerdom was a blast, she was so cute and funny (well she still is!) and the things she would say, would have us rolling. We were also lucky because she has always been very even tempered, so we didn’t have lots of tantrums. Now our job is to get her ready to go out on her own, can’t believe how fast it has all gone.

  8. Tara on December 17th, 2010 12:39 pm

    Yes, God, a million times yes.

  9. Heather on December 17th, 2010 1:22 pm

    oh man did I need that. With Daddy-o out with the flu, the Shortstack and I are headed to the airport tomorrow. We’ve done this before … in the fall … for 36 hour trips. But in the winter (sweaters, snowpants!) for 5 days I’m freaking out some.

    For not quite 2.5 he’s a good traveler most of the time, now if I could quit hitting the panic button accidentally.

    I’m looking forward to the next year or so when some of the other toddler stuff (yep, I’ve changed a brown diaper in an airplane before – YO!) moves aside….

    For now … breathe deep to avoid the panic!

  10. t.cup on December 17th, 2010 2:15 pm

    yes. totally. i got pg before i got married three years ago and now i have two small boys (as well as an older one), and it’s literally only in the last few weeks that we’ve been able to leave them with other people and go out and… you know, have a life?

    i always said i wanted four but i was going to wait until the youngest was about 3 before i made a solid decision on that. now i’m kind of thinking, you know, i LIKE not having to get up in the middle of the night. i LIKE not having to worry about feeding. i like the ‘less work’ aspect of these small-but-not-baby-sized children. am thinking i could definitely get used to it.

  11. Monique on December 17th, 2010 2:31 pm

    See, I go both ways. I enjoyed my 2 daughters (now 12 and 17) all through their infancy/toddler times, but I was always saying “Oh, when she can do this or that it will be so much easier” and it was. But sometimes I feel that I rushed through their early years and never truely enjoyed them at that age. In November of 2007 I decided that I was really ready to say that I would not be having anymore children. In Febuary 2008, God said “Nuh uh! Here’s baby #3! Enjoy!” I was 29 with #1, 34 with #2, and 44 (Forty-four!) with #3!!! Now I REALLY knew I was done with babies, so I resolved to not constantly wish him to an older age and to enjoy what ever age he was at (now 2). It’s been really GREAT! I’ve enjoyed it all! BUT. My girls were 15 and 10 when he was born, so I had great built in sitters, plus the husband works 2nd shift, so pretty much any time I need a break there is someone there to take over. Before having him I would definately say I enjoyed the girls much more when they were older. Having built in help makes the infancy/toddler years much better.

  12. Nicole on December 17th, 2010 2:50 pm

    Absolutely! 2.5 is an awesome age. It’s a more flexible age. There’s more freedom and a lot less, “For the love of sanity and hygiene, why would you put cat poop in your pocket???” In 6 months we have gone from never wanting to leave the safety of our house for fear of unprovoked and uncontrollable public tantrums to, “I don’t feel like cooking, let’s go to a restaurant that doesn’t have a coloring book children’s menu and bucket-o crayons.” I have felt, ever since Riley was born, that it just gets better and better. He is so verbal now and says things on a daily basis that totally blow our minds… or crack our shit up… or reduce me to a blubbering mess with completely random declarations like, “Mommy, you’re my best friend.” I do miss all the previous stages some but I wouldn’t trade “right now” for anything in the world. That is one of the coolest things about being a parent – The gift of truly living in the moment and savoring every second and at the very same time being ravenous with anticipation at what amazing things are next to come. Sure there are still rough days and tantrumy, raging, “Don’t touch me Mommy!!!” time-outs, but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think (at some fleeting quiet moment) how incredibly lucky we are to be right where we are.

  13. adequatemom on December 17th, 2010 2:53 pm

    Does your offhand reference to not worrying about blowout diapers mean that Dylan has been successfully potty-trained? If so, CONGRATS.

    And yes, I do enjoy toddlerhood much more than babyhood, and suspect I will love preschool-age even more. It’s so much less about caretaking a physical being, and so much more about getting to know and care about an actual PERSON. LOVE IT!

  14. Linda on December 17th, 2010 2:57 pm

    Adequate: no no no. Sadly, no. It’s just that while nearly-3-year-old poops are quite stinky, they aren’t as frequent or horrifying in nature as baby poops, you know?

  15. EmilysHollow on December 17th, 2010 2:58 pm

    Oh, thank you. And I might love you a little right now. My son is 5 months. And it was hard to get him and I love him and I do enjoy him often but….sometimes I don’t and I feel just rotten about that. I yell back when he cries for hours and ask him to just give me a damn minute already and look forward to him being able to say “My tummy hurts” so I can stop spinning my wheels trying to give him more food and I feel SO GUILTY for not savoring every second of him being a baby.

    I’m glad it gets better, but even if it DIDN’T, I’m glad so many other people feel like I do.

  16. Artemisia on December 17th, 2010 3:45 pm

    I am afraid I WON’T like kids after the baby stage. And so, I have put off baby-having and I turn 35 in two months. And feel panicky.

  17. Amy K on December 17th, 2010 4:06 pm

    I’m asking for a lightning bolt from the heavens for saying this, but my daughter has been very mellow and a good sleeper from the start, so I think I might have enjoyed the baby stage much more than your average parent does. Breastfeeding and diaper blowouts and carrying 20 pounds of gear everywhere you go are infinitely more tolerable when you get eight hours of sleep per night, you know? Now she’s 21 months and I’m waiting for the toddler shit to hit the fan.

  18. Sarah on December 17th, 2010 5:28 pm

    You are definitely not alone in this…In fact probably from the day they were BORN my husband has been wishing for the kids to be over 5 so they’d be “fun” *lol* While I LOVED the baby years for what they were…it is definitely a whole different ball game now…and infinitely better!!

  19. Maura on December 17th, 2010 7:20 pm

    I feel guilty typing this but yes I enjoyed both my boys more once they were out of the infant stage. I just worried too much when they were infants, once they could communicate with me I felt more on a level I could grasp. They are now 16 and 17 and I even so far have been enjoying the teenage years with them.

  20. TB on December 17th, 2010 8:15 pm

    I felt like I was always clinging to the edge of a cliff during the infant years. The immediacy of my girls’ needs during that time was so terrifying to me. Quick! I’ve got to get home before nap time! Hurry! Feed the baby before she’s completely hysterical! Oh crap! The baby completely blew out her diaper and I forgot to run the washer! Now that they’re 9 and 5 I feel like we’re all actually enjoying each other and our family life has a pace and rhythm that’s not nearly so frantic. I love seeing the potential each new age holds.

  21. Amber on December 18th, 2010 12:21 am

    Yes!

    I love that my kids are older that we can do more.

    Granted, my three year old drives me crazy at times. But I’m sure I’ll enjoy her more when she’s older and sane.

  22. Lydia on December 18th, 2010 8:47 am

    I traveled solo around that area once. I loved it, the peace and quiet and wholesome food.

    Also, just want to say that I started reading your blog when Riley was a baby–it was the spider episode. Then you sorta stop blogging on here, and I did not have the patience to follow you around the other blogs, so I slipped away. But today, while at the PioneerWoman, I remembered you, and here I am. I’m happy you’re writing on here again; it’s always such a pleasure to visit here.

    Have a fine Christmas time, dear blessed little family.

  23. christina on December 18th, 2010 1:42 pm

    Yes yes yes! I was just thinking today that 2 is surely going to kill me. While I am actively trying to enjoy the good parts, the whining, screeching and general misery that comes with 2 is just a giant pain in the ass. I get little glimpses now of him being a true person with a sense of humor and independence and I can’t wait til that kid comes to live here all the time.

  24. Lisa on December 18th, 2010 7:10 pm

    I really enjoy every age/stage more than the previous, but now at ages 12 & 9, I have a feeling that may be coming to an end! I never thought I’d say this but sometimes I wish for the days when they were babies and toddlers. It really was so easy then, although I didn’t believe it at the time. Physically exhausting, yes, but this feeling of letting them go into the world a little more each year is heart-wrenching some days. Hearing the snippets of their days- “someone was mean to me,” “someone told me I was dumb,” “someone pushed me down at recess,” etc. ACK! Feels like a small punch in the gut every time knowing I can’t protect them like I could when they were younger.

  25. Amy on December 19th, 2010 9:10 am

    You know, the funny thing? Is that somehow when I was pregnant every lead me to believe that being pregnant was the best part (OMFG I cannot say NO loud enough to that) and then everyone was all, okay THIS is the best part (the insane, inconsolable colicy screaming NO SLEEPING, NOT EVER, radical suicidal PPD part, which, clearly was a huge NO for me) all the while saying it only get harder as they get older. And that Toddler-dom was an abysmal pit of crappy suckage waiting on the horizon to kill me.

    And you know what? Toddlerhood? SO MUCH EFFING BETTER THAN BABYHOOD OHMYMOTHEREFFINGGAWD.

  26. babelbabe on December 19th, 2010 9:59 am

    Jesus God, YES.

  27. Aviva (omyc.wordpress.com) on December 19th, 2010 11:49 am

    I find I love every stage of my son’s life. I have one (who is only four) and can only have one and, although I’m sometimes wistful when I see a beautiful baby or toddler, I’m really content to be on this singular journey with him. I love his growing independence, his curiosity, his early efforts to read, his exuberance. And although I’m sometimes sure my head will explode when he suicidally climbs on everything and refuses to listen to me, I can’t imagine the person I’d be without him in my life. But yes — the answer to your question is a definite yes.

    Thanks for your awesome posts. Love your writing and your sense of humor.

  28. Aviva (omyc.wordpress.com) on December 19th, 2010 11:50 am

    Ooops — mean to write “almost four,” not “only four.” Not that anyone cares. Sorry.

  29. Katie S on December 19th, 2010 2:07 pm

    YES. Yes yes yes. Our son just turned three and we were getting all excited about how FUN and EASY everything was. And then, ahem, we had a baby. And, like, I love her and all, but I am already anxious to get to two years from now when we are where you are now and we can just enjoy life and adventures without all the necessary care that a baby requires. I have learned I am a kickass mom but not totally in love with the newborn stage. It makes me sad but it is what it is. I try to enjoy this while it lasts, especially because she is probably our last, but I can’t wait for camping trips and other fun stuff when they’re 3 and 6 or so.
    Sorry for the novel. This is on my mind a lot lately. Ha.

  30. June on December 20th, 2010 9:01 am

    I didn’t read all of the comments carefully, but I’m blown away by the amount of guilt that I see here. I want to hug all of you and reassure everyone that yes, you are a fine mom. If you love your children and strive to do your best every day, then you are doing great, let the guilt go.

  31. Erin@MommyontheSpot on December 31st, 2010 12:30 pm

    I try to live in the moment and appreciate where my kids are right now, 20 months and 4 years old. Having said that, I am SOO LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS STAGE THAT YOU TALK ABOUT!

  32. inchristian louboutin on July 5th, 2011 1:53 pm

    hi!,I like your writing so much! share we communicate more about your article on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to solve my problem. Maybe that’s you! Looking forward to see you.

Leave a Reply