Ages, Stages, and Parenting Gauges
From the time I was pregnant with my first, I was told about what my favorite ages would be. There were many people who told me that babyhood was something that was so sweet and precious and to never blink, because it would be gone before I knew it. They insisted that smell of a newborn, the rocking motion for sleeping, the sweet snuggles while feeding, and all the firsts before they are one would be the best part of my life.
Oh man, were they right.
Others would tell me that babyhood was all survival and that I wouldn’t really start truly enjoying my children until they were toddlers. The new walking, the laughter and exploration, the personalities beginning to shine in new ways – these were the days that I would look back on and miss. Toddlers, they would say, are the best stage in a child’s life.
I completely agree.
Still others would tell me that it is so fun to watch toddlers grow into kids. They said that watching children become their own person, develop a natural love of learning, while also being able to take care of themselves was a blessing that is to be cherished. Those are the days I will miss when I think back on my children’s lives.
I can’t wait to find out.
It gets a little hazy when we start talking about those preteens and teens as many parents are scared of these ages. However, I know many parents who say it was their favorite stage with their children.
I’m excited to parent a preteen someday.
I have loved every stage my children have gone through. This past week has been full of me staring at my almost four-year old daughter and wondering where the baby went. I hardly recognize her and I am thrilled with the little girl she is becoming. It was more difficult to enjoy the baby stage with my son since I had a toddler already, but now that he is a toddler himself, I am shocked at how quickly he grew up. Right now is my favorite stage with my daughter. Right now is my favorite stage with my son. I said the same thing six months ago, and six months before that. I am confident I will say the same thing six months from now.
Look at your children. Really look at them. Soak their unique individuality in before it morphs. Then do it again. That is what we need to do as parents and what we need to encourage new parents to do. Let’s not say “Oh, you will miss this stage once its gone.” Sure, it will happen, but instead let’s focus on what is in the now because none of the moments we experience will be able to come back. Your daughter will only be a baby once, yes, but she will only be a 13-year old once too. Your son was adorable going to kindergarten for the first time and he will be just as adorable walking into his senior year of high school.
Embrace the moments, all of them, in the moment. Do not look back and grieve at what is lost. Look at your children and love the stage they are in. Teach them to do the same for themselves. They don’t have to constantly be looking to the future. Let them, and you, enjoy the now. Right now.
Do you have some ways that you have embraced the now with your children? Please share in the comments so we can work together at this parenting thing.