There comes a point (I’m sure for every parent) when you realize that your kids are no longer “babies”. When I say babies, I basically mean “little ones that depend on you almost constantly”… which is pretty much from newborn to preschool age.
For me, this has been a long time coming but the big realization hit me recently. As I had my kids early (I was 23 when my oldest was born), many of my friends are just having their babies now… so the topics are playgroups, things to do while on mat leave, diaper woes, how to find a good daycare, transitioning from the bottle, sleep training… all things that I could definitely give advice on (and consider myself a bit of an expert on), but not topics that interest me as much anymore.
I admit, this made me sad and nostalgic. I miss having a baby in the house. It ALMOST made me start up a dialogue with hubby about having more kids. But then my brain kicked in and I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. Wanting more babies does not mean wanting more children.
As I thought about it more, I began to see all the amazingly positive things that this change has brought. I will always cherish the “young” years but there are some pretty awesome stuff that comes with having older kids.
1. Leaving the house without packing a single thing
Leaving the house with little ones, even for only a couple hours, means packing a suitcase sized diaper bag. You need changes of clothes, extra diapers, wipes, bottles, snacks, blankets, etc etc etc. Then getting the kids in their snowsuits, boots, hats, mitts. What a chore! Now, I simply say “kids, we’re going out”. They get everything on themselves. My youngest no longer even needs help with her zipper! We can head out for hours without having to bring a single thing with us.
2. Going to a nice(r) restaurant as a family
Even though we still typically brought the kids with us to restaurants, we usually stuck to “family” restaurants where we wouldn’t feel eyes staring in the back of our heads if our daughter started to cry or our son jumped on his seat. Now, we can take the kids to nicer places and know that they will sit nice and quiet during the entire meal.
3. Bedtime is a breeze
Now, my kids have always been pretty awesome sleepers. Saying that, it’s actually gotten even easier over the last year or so because the kids can get themselves ready. We say “Time for bed” and off they go to the bathroom, put on their own PJ’s, brush their own teeth, pick out a book and then they get into bed. We just simply go in, read, tuck them in and shut off the light… and actually, many nights my son loves to read to his little sister instead! They are both asleep within minutes, no whining or crying.
4. Ability to entertain themselves without constant supervision
My son was the type of “baby” that needed you to be entertaining him 24/7. My daughter was the completely opposite and has always had a huge imagination. But either way, in both situations, I always had to be right there with them. We know, in a split second, they could grab something they’re not supposed to or get stuck under a table (it’s happened…). You always need to be in the same room knowing the moment you chose to leave the room was when disaster would absolutely strike. Now, my kids have reign over the entire house. My husband renovated the basement for them – it’s their zone. They have toys, tv, crayons, books, etc etc. They will play down there together, or alone in their rooms, for hours on a Sunday afternoon and we really don’t need to be worried about them.
5. They have memories!
This is my favourite by far. The fact that we can drive past a location and they can both recall when we were there a year ago. They know what turns we need to make to get back to our house when we go out. When we mention a relative we haven’t seen in a long time, they know who we are talking about. Of course, this one does come with complications as well. We are realizing that with permanent memories, we need to be extra careful. Little things like really watching what we say in front of them and the fact that they understand SO much now. Knowing that anything that happens to them now may be a memory they remember for the rest of their lives. It’s cool and scary at the same time!
There are many more positive things that come with the kids getting older. I’m sure many I am still years away from realizing. I will always cherish those younger years and I do miss them dearly, but it’s all part of life and watching my kids grow into polite, well spoken, respectful young people makes me feel like I’m definitely doing something right. 🙂
So have any of you noticed other benefits of your kids getting older? Comment below!