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?

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Nichole
13 years ago

Yes. With a big Y E S. I did like the cuddles and baby squishiness, but I so love this stage. (Mine are 5 and 3.)

Gina
13 years ago

Of course! Babies are HARD. Add in the fact that you are sleep deprived and they can’t tell you what’s wrong and you’re hormonal and they’re screamy and stinky and you’ve got CRAZYTOWN. After that, it’s uphill until the teen years.

Rachel
13 years ago

If you had posted this two days ago, my response would have been a hearty, robust AND HOW! (My kids=almost 6 and just turned 2)But then my best friend went and had a baby Tuesday night, and I’ll be damned if holding her didn’t make me miss the newborn stage. That mewing snort-cry! The frog legs! The staying in one place! The fuzzy little downy head! GAH.
Curse those wily newborns with their maternal voodoo!

Christine
13 years ago

I don’t have children, so can’t answer your question, but your “five” post made me a wee bit weepy. And holy cow, Dylan looks just about grown in that parrot picture. All wonder, but no baby left.

What wonderful boys you have!

Jennie
13 years ago

I was a pre-school/daycare teacher for years and four/five was just this blissful age that made me know, for certain, that whatever came before was worth going through to get to that age.

All sweetness and questions and personality and smiles and wonder. Just….the perfect version of a human.

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

I don’t have kids, but I *can* say that literally the post right above yours in my blog reader tonight had a very similar sentiment. Man, I read a lot of blogs written by moms.

VirtualSprite
13 years ago

Oh, sweet Jesus YES!!! A thousand times yes. I’m not big on babies. But six year olds? They are awesome. If I would have known that six year olds were so much fun I would have started there.

Christen
13 years ago

I am childfree but have an almost-five year-old half brother and holy shit is it FUN. He was a pretty easy baby, so it’s not like we feel like some great torture is over. But man. He’s such good company and funny and smart and sweet. He is at a cool stage of wanting to hold my hand and yet he’s big enough to go get me a Coke out of the fridge. It’s pretty great. Every now and then I miss the baby stage but this blows my mind.

Jessie T.
Jessie T.
13 years ago

I have a 5 and a 3, too, and it’s heaven. Every day is an adventure. Today my 5 year old asks, “Mom, did you know that the house on the hill is held up by lots of glue??”

They can sit still through a whole book or movie. They want to try new foods. There’s no rushing back home for naptimes or feedings.

I have no warm squishy feelings for the lost baby years. These pre-k/Kindergarten years totally rock!

Donna
Donna
13 years ago

OMG yes!!!! A thousand times! Snuggly, sweet, funny, completely innocent, yes, these are the best years!

Erin
13 years ago

We just had our first fun-filled, fairly easy and very fun vacation in the fall and my kids are 8 and 4. I’ve always said that I do better once they can pee in the toilet, feed themselves and communicate in a way that lets you know that they know you are a person and not just a servant of some sort. I loved my babies and I love other people’s babies, but knowing there isn’t likely to be a tantrum at any moment is bliss for me as a mom. So glad you got there sooner than our family did!

Aimee
13 years ago

Oh, HECK yes. I remember my mom saying the same thing many times, too.

KM
KM
13 years ago

My girls are 22 and 24 and I have always maintained that it only gets better: easier, more interesting, more fun. Even the teen years were a step in the right direction… part of the inevitable, hoped-for move to independent adulthood. So it’s all good, and not only do I never look back, I can’t honestly remember them at any age but the one they are at right now. They have always been “the perfect age”.

The good part of that for me is that I’m not all weepy-eyed when I see a baby, I had zero empty nest syndrome and I’m able to look back at the photos and videos of their childhood with complete joy rather than sorrow.

Kirsten
13 years ago

Oh thank GAWD I’m not the only one…ha! My boy is a couple months younger then Dylan, and I keep thinking how great this age is. My husband is wanting baby #2 and to be honest, it makes me tired just thinking about it. I had a tough time with the baby stuff – I think I like my sleep too much.

Ness at Drovers Run
13 years ago

Ok no one else has said this yet, so let me be the first… Port Angeles??? (INSERT TEENAGE TWILIGHT-RELATED SQUEEEEEEEEAAAAALLLLL).

Ok, now that that is done, I can wholeheartedly agree that has been the same experience for us, too. My youngest one is almost turning 3 (April), and already it’s SO much easier, and more fun. I only hope this phase lasts long enough and we don’t get hit with teenage (mom and dad are uncool) too soon. (the eldest is only 5 but going on 15).

Amy
Amy
13 years ago

Hmm, maybe I’m just not there yet? Right now, I’ve got two 9-week olds (warm, cuddly, meet-their-basic-needs-then-snuggle-while-watching-adult-tv) and a 3.5 year old (discipline, negotiate, argue, please-be-quiet-for-just-2-minutes) and let me tell you which one I prefer. I know my 3yo is dealing with transition (as am I) but I am surely not seeing the reward side of being her parent right now.

TwoWishes Tara
13 years ago

YES! Our girl is still only 21 months, so we’re barely even out of the baby stage. But we’re enjoying it more with every passing month, and I can’t wait till she gets even older and we can start having real conversations. We’re really torn on having a second baby, because much as we’d love to have another child we almost can’t bear to set the process back almost two years and start over again at Square One. Newborn snuggles are amazing, but I’ll happily hold someone else’s kid for those!

Antropologa
13 years ago

Well sure. Babies kind of blow. But I do remember enjoying babyhood at the time. I just can’t figure out why.

JMH
JMH
13 years ago

YES. My kids are 9 and 6. It is great to go out with them now…they even handle long (over 1 hour) car trips well. I love babies, but this is better :)

NancyJ
NancyJ
13 years ago

Oh my God – It’s taken 20 years to find people that agreed with me!!
Yes, yes, yes – I loved the toddler/older years so much more than the baby period.
I never wished any of it away, but what a joy it was to move on…

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
13 years ago

I do miss the baby stage but they are so much easier when they get older. My boy is 8 and pretty self sufficient.

MEP
MEP
13 years ago

Once my daughter turned three, I often found myself thinking, “This is the funnest age yet!”… until lately. She is almost nine and now we are on a downward slope toward tweendom. She worries about school a lot. Girls are already mean to each other, body image issues are already rearing their ugly heads — she is so much easier to care for, but she’s not always confident, giddy and carefree as she was at five.

So yes, your boys are at an EXCELLENT age, but that time where they don’t want to have anything to do with you might come sooner than you think.

Amy Fox
13 years ago

I’m there now. I used to think it would be sad when we didn’t have a baby around anymore. I think that is partly why our kids are 14, 9 and 5. I knew once we had 3, we’d be done. Now I feel like we changed diapers for the better part of 12 years (late potty-trainers). On the plus side of that, I got my fill of baby time. I am a doula, so I get to sort of re-live the pregnancy and birth part, without the pain. I like this new phase in our life.

Allison
13 years ago

There is something about that 6-month-to-just-under-2 age range that I absolutely love, love. But in terms of being happy as a FAMILY, where we are in synch and enjoying similar things and a little more hassle-free – well, I completely agree. With my first, the thought of potty training (talk about hassle!) and getting rid of naps and later bedtimes – it all terrified me. Now I am looking forward to those stages with my second, because then we can throw caution to the wind and just DO stuff!

jonniker
13 years ago

I’ll tell you that I believe it, having a two-year-old right now. I thought I was a baby person, and then I … well, HAD a baby. Babies are nice, but they are also a pain in the ass.

Every stage thus far has been my favorite as she grows, and I look forward to even more.

Claire
13 years ago

I love that your kids are ahead of mine by 2 years so that each time I feel down about a stage (i.e. 8 months old OMG) I read something like this and realize it gets better. They need an “It Gets Better” campaign for moms!

Christine
13 years ago

I love babies, but mine are 4.5 and 2, and we’re NEARLY THERE. I can’t wait till they’re both big enough to go to a movie with us.

Aunt Linda
13 years ago

Take it from me Linda’s absolutely right. The kids were great, the bird was great. Notice she didn’t mention the dogs.

Maggie
Maggie
13 years ago

I would agree with you that it is a bit easier as they get older, but we are getting into the sassy attitude, the eye rolling and the sibling bickering/fighting BIG TIME which is not fun. Also, I like having a bit more space and freedom, but on the other hand it is a little sad that they don’t always want or need me anymore. In fact, I am embarrassing to my 9 year old half the time (heart.breaking.)

Annie
Annie
13 years ago

Mine are 4 and 3… It’s so nice to not have to haul a bunch of crap around with me now. That’s the absolute WORST part of babyhood… All of the STUFF! I’m pregnant again and am really looking forward to my new squishy little baby girl… But I’m not looking forward to all the STUFF that she’ll bring with her. Oh well… Only another 3 years until I have nother awesome little person to hang with.

And yes, OMG, FORKS! lol

My Kids Mom
13 years ago

It isn’t that we didn’t like the sweet baby stage, it’s just that we know that the sour and smelly baby stages came along with the sweet part! Now, I borrow a baby on the church playground if I need a baby fix!

Age five. Age five is when life became good. As soon as my youngest turned five we discovered vacations. Atlanta to Niagara Falls in the car without electronic toys! It was great and now we’re heading to Yellowstone next summer! No naps, easy to feed, can read in the car…. As they say, “It just gets better!”

Heather
13 years ago

Absolutely! I am scared shitless of infancy to be quite honest. It sucked…for me! My daughter was fine but I lost my damn mind. It does get easier and better, just like they said it would. I feel ya is what I am sayin’!

KarinNH
KarinNH
13 years ago

I never did love the baby stage…toddlers were much better, five year olds were awesome, and the teen years were fantastic. And there gets to be a time, right as they hit the preteen/early teen years, where you catch glimpses of the adults they are going to become and that is amazing.

My two boys are both adults now and seeing these two productive, happy, nice people out in the world is great. The downside is I really miss them!

ste
ste
13 years ago

My friend, who is a mother of two and in her 60’s, told me the other day that while every stage is wonderful, as kids move into a new stage it seems to always get better because of all the knew things they’re figuring out and expressing. I’m hoping that’s true as I can’t get past the fact that I’m dealing with another round of “don’t sleep through the night and keep mama up as much as possible”.

Christina
13 years ago

Without a doubt. Like you I always suspected I would enjoy the “older” ages and I am. I am ready to be done with two and my daughter is only five months in?!

But at least I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel as five has been amazing with my son!

Melissa
13 years ago

Absolutely. Mine are 8 and 3 now and we’ve finally reached that stage where there’s soooo much less pressure and pain to go out that we don’t mind doing it. Sure they still whine and get weird – but they can understand English and when I say sit down and be quiet – they can and do. I’ll miss the baby stuff, but i’m really really looking forward to the big kid stuff.

Cheryl S.
Cheryl S.
13 years ago

I am SO right there with you. The older my daughter gets, the more fun she becomes (she’s 5 now).

I HATE the newborn stage. HATE.IT. I love my little girl, but for me the first 6 weeks are pure, unadulterated hell, and the next 6 only a little better.

The more “interactive” a child becomes, the better I like it!

Now, we’re going to NYC for Xmas. I cannot wait. He first plane ride. Her first trip to NYC. Her first time seeing snow. All the sights and sounds of New York. I love being able to emjoy all those things again through her eyes!!

Mary @ Tips & Treasures

I totally understand and have felt the same way. My kids are close in age to yours (4.5 and almost 3) and I’m loving these days wayyyy more than I ever loved the baby stages. I enjoyed them as babies but all along I was sorta antsy for them to grow up just a little bit. To not be sooo needy and for us to be able to go places as a family and enjoy things all together. Not parents dragging along babies.

Best moment was yesterday when the four of us sat around watching Home Alone. Never before would my kids watch a non-animated movie. But since they are a tad older, they loved it.

Anyway, I’m rambling just to say I agree :)

Rachael
13 years ago

I used to set these landmarks like, “When they can pour their own MILK instead of asking for it 20 times a day, things will be so much better.” They are!

Jenny
Jenny
13 years ago

I’m with you. I miss the squishy baby stuff when I see other people’s babies, but having a kid who can tell me what’s wrong when she’s upset and crack me up with her silly jokes is so much fun. Of course, she can also talk back…but still, poop is a much less prevalent part of my day, so 4-year-olds FTW.

Danielle
Danielle
13 years ago

Most days I am in complete agreement with you. I knew, KNEW when my last baby arrived that this was it, I was d.o.n.e. with babies. I actually felt sorry for women that were about to give birth, lol. Now they are 2 1/2, 5 (almost six) and 10, and I am quite enjoying the toy in the living room free/bottle free/diaper free, you get the picture lifestyle.
Most days I feel this way. Then there are the days that I wish for a traveling carnival to swing into town so I can catapult the younger 2 into the circus tent and wave goodbye. They get smarter, and more talkative, and sometimes that is NOT a good thing. My oldest is entering the preteen years, and I am enjoying the talks we are having about what life is like for her much more than breaking up fights over little people..

wealhtheow
13 years ago

But did you see any sparkly vampires??????

Lisa
Lisa
13 years ago

Oh my god, Claire was so right in her comment…they DO need an “It Gets Better” campaign for moms! Brilliant!
I have a 1.5 and a 3.5 year old and while I’m still in the mires of babyhood with the little guy, I see how great my older boy is and look forward to when everyone can do something and all be happy at the same time.

Rachel
13 years ago

Ohhhh my holy gosh YES. I was one of those women who wanted to have a ton of babies, because I thought I would miss having a baby in the house SO MUCH once each one grew up. It didn’t work out that way for us, and I am so, so glad. I loved having babies, but man, babies are HARD. Having children who can control their excretory functions and their tempers, who can converse in English and who love me in a more mature way than WHERE IS MY SOURCE OF MILK AND WARMTH WAAAAH — it’s a much more enjoyable life than those early years which are, no doubt, full of joy, but which are also a marathon of always being needed every second of every day. Granted, now the struggles of teenagerhood loom before us (so far so good, with my 14yo boy, but he’s the quiet type; his sister will be more of an Issue, I’m thinking)… and then the even more ominous specter of an empty nest, but we won’t talk about that right now.

Not that I don’t still love babies. I’m just glad that now I can give them back to their mothers when they get needy.

Angella
13 years ago

YES. They are SO MUCH FUN right now. Not that they weren’t perfectly lovely babies but, well, you know what I mean. :)

MRW
MRW
13 years ago

Hell yes. When my husband and I were deciding whether to have a second child, I can’t count the number of times I said something like “I know I want another child, I just wish we didn’t have to go through the baby stage to get there.” That said, my second is 17 months old and damn did those months go so much faster with the second than they did with my first!

Claudia
13 years ago

Yes! Absolutely! My girls are now 10 and 6 and life is SO MUCH BETTER, even when they’re bickering amongst themselves. I do not miss the days of wranging a baby and a preschoolers. I do not miss diapers and children who can’t warn you they’re about to puke. They love to travel and are often a pleasure to be with. It does get better. Of course, now my oldest is close to entering puberty which I’m sad about. But, I’m enjoying things while they last.

cakeburn@mindspring.com
cakeburn@mindspring.com
13 years ago

Nope. I absolutely adored the infant/baby stage (once my first slept through the night; blissfully, baby #2 was born sleeping 6 hours at night). I didn’t find the stage your kids are at so very enjoyable: toddler/preschool/ elementary school-age. Although I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’m LOVING the middle school/junior high phase! I loved the kids at every age, but this one is proving to be as fun as I found infancy. To each his own, of course. I think my husband enjoyed the stages I wasn’t too enamored of more so than I–but then again, he wasn’t home ALL DAY WITH THEM. LOL

penny
penny
13 years ago

I would have said no, I don’t feel the same way, had I just had my girl. But then my boy came along, and yesyesyes, I feel very much the same way.

JennB
13 years ago

I’m loving the fact that my kids are getting older, because they’re more autonomous and this allows me to do the things that I miss doing, like reading a book for more than 30 seconds, or sleeping in. Our 2-1/2 year old son is in the midst of an unfortunate mid-night waking habit, but we’re going to get him through it. I look forward to when they can really entertain themselves, and also when they stop feeling like they need to be my bathroom ambassadors.

I don’t miss the newbie stage at all, because now I know what lies ahead of that sweet, small squishiness and I never, ever want to go through that again. Happily, all three of my sister-in-laws had babies this year, so I get baby time when I need it, and then hand those little buggers right back. I do miss the “you set them down and they stay there” stage.