When you are in the middle of it you think it will never end.
You feel like you can’t go another day without a full night’s sleep.
The thought of changing another diaper, or teaching someone to actually use the restroom sends terrors through your spine.
The perpetual state of mess from crumbs, toys, milk, and mysterious sticky substance X have taken over every inch of your living space.
You know which episode of The Backyardigans or Sofia the First any given plot line is from.
You are in the middle of the Baby Phase.
And then it ends.
But…but you weren’t looking. You didn’t “enjoy every moment.” You forgot about the baby books. And adorable scribble art. And washing bottles. And cutting the grapes. Do you need a stroller? How about extra clothes? Two sets…just in case.
I didn’t think the end of the baby phase would hit me this hard.
On to Phase 2
I got to enjoy the baby phase longer than a lot of people. I was lucky enough to have three kids pretty close in age, so this phase of life lasted a good 8 years for me. I’ve actually been looking forward to Phase 2 for a long time, and have been enjoying watching the older kids grow and flourish as they became kids. They have each discovered who they are WITHOUT Mom and Dad around. This is a fascinating development.
Liam has shown himself to be the King of the Geeks, with a sensitive side. He can tell you ANYTHING you want to know about Zelda, Pokemon, Digimon, Minecraft, Angry Birds, Roblox, and Captain Underpants. He thinks that he is going to go to school at Hogwarts and is fully prepared to finance his way there by selling his own creations. Anyone in the market for handmade Digimon cards?
At recess his friends work out so that they can compete in a Zelda mission. He has told me that he WILL be this generation’s Hero of Time. He wants to be a comic book writer and can read a book quicker than I thought humanly possible. He has the most vivid and intense imagination and it is going to take him places, if he can sit still long enough to get there.
But when things don’t go according to plan there are melt downs and tears. When someone isn’t following directions (and he actually is) he gets upset. He likes routines, but not organization. He wants to be in charge of his family, but can play second fiddle to his friends. He plants the seed of ideas and lets them lead.
Eliza-Beth stopped being a baby when she was three. The day I found out that not only could she read, but she was reading to her class, presentation style, in day care. Her Kindergarten teacher has helped encourage her to continue with her love of reading by assigning her books above her grade level. I’ve now gotten her to start reading Babysitter’s Club books like I did and she already wants to start her own club. She has also been known to pick up a math workbook and do problems for fun.
She cares about babies from every species, except bugs. She will smash in ant to smithereens without a second thought. If she isn’t in a dress, she is in a skirt. If she isn’t in a skirt, she is in pink with glitter. There might, in fact, be glitter and neon running through her veins. In the past two years she has told me that she wants to be a pediatrician and a teacher, but always a mommy. Just like me. (I guess I’m doing something right.)
She makes friends everywhere we go and will talk about inanimate objects like they have feelings. I’ve had to babysit “Blankie” while she gets her shower numerous time. Just look out when she doesn’t get her way, or gets passed over on a turn. That Diva tantrum is going to come out and her yell will alert the neighborhood dogs of her mood.
I Was Ready
For those two I was ready. I always thought about them growing up and going to school. I knew they would be okay. I was relatively prepared in getting their clothes and supplies for school. I systematically got rid of EVERYTHING that was babyish of theirs when they were done with it. Now with Baby #3 I am having a hard time letting go.
He went to PreK and did just fine. Excellent, actually. He only went to school 3 hours a day, but he learned sign language, the states in alphabetical order, and can say his ABC’s backwards. I always questioned how he would do in school, but then he showed me he would do amazing.
I cannot wait to see the person that London will become when he starts elementary school in August. He already tries to hang with the “big boys” when walking home from the bus stop. He’s got the superhero wardrobe on lockdown. He even already owns a few school branded t-shirts.
The day he graduated from PreK is asked if he was going to school that afternoon since he was now a Kindergartner. No, of course not. He didn’t like that answer. He has adjusted to not having to fight with anyone over TV and video games while the big kids are at school, though. Not to mention having Mommy all to himself for six hours.
I know that he is going to do good and become an awesome little person, but I didn’t think it would be so hard for me to realize it’s going to happen. I still have his ragged baby blankie on the highest pantry shelf and there might be a few pull-ups in the bathroom drawer.
I’ve Been Waiting
I’ve been waiting years for them all to be in school. I’m ready for that part. I can actually clean or workout in peace. I don’t have to squeeze in work in 2-3 hour increments throughout the various drop offs and pickups during the day. I can have a little bit of time to myself which will probably do wonders for my emotional well being and will make me a better mom because I can focus on BEING a mom when the kids are home.
There are two places I might be on the first day of school. Curled up under my comforter snuggling stuffed animals waiting for the kiddos to return. Or lounging by the pool, reading trashy magazines, and drinking celebratory mimosas.
Someone help me aim for Option 2.
Are you still in the Baby Phase, or are you waving from the finish line of childhood? Let me know how you deal with the end of the Baby Phase, or if you want to come have mimosas to celebrate the first day of school with me in the comments!
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