Tuesday, 26 August 2014
The Parenting Files: Of Learner Drivers and Teenaged Sickies: A Glimpse Ahead for Mothers of Little People.
Parenting older teens is a completely different prospect than I ever imagined for my life as a mother. Back when I began this journey with a teeny little one (and I do mean teeny, Miss Sunshine was just under 6lb when she was born) I could only imagine myself as a mother of little people. Indeed when Mr Busy finally went off to school it took me six months to adjust to the reality that I no longer had really little people in my house. I don't know, those Prep's at school look mighty little from my perspective now!
If I could write a letter to my very much younger self I would tell me to embrace every moment of having small people because day I will blink and all of a sudden all my children will be bigger than I and they will no longer fit on my lap (and Mr Busy has not fulfilled his promise that I could sit on his knee when he got bigger than me!). And those endless early days of 'peak hour parenting'? They will be gone in the blink of an eye and don't roll your eyes, even to yourself. You have no idea how quick that endless time goes by. It's an oxymoron...the quick and the endless. It's just how it is so embrace every moment: the tantrums, the illnesses, the cuddles, the innocent "I love you's", the funny pronunciation of new vocabulary, the "You can't tell me what to do" statements of a brazen (read: silly and unwise know-it-all) 3yo....all of it.
I would tell myself to stress less about the toilet training. It will not be the worst part of parenting. That will come when you have two learner drivers in your house. And they will try to kill you and crash your car every time they drive. Almost. Every day. For two years. Toilet training lasted about 9 months between the three of them and your life was not at risk. Embrace the toilet training and its safety. Frustration has nothing on fear-for-your-life. Be satisfied with 'frustrated'.
Those nights when you were up changing sheets because you had children vomiting in the middle of the night. More than once? And the chest infections and snot and slobber? Yeah, that won't last forever either. One day your 18yo will be able to make it to an appropriate receptacle AND clean up after herself. Yeah, baby!! You will feel like you won the lottery on that one. It starts to happen around 10yo. By the time they are 18 you can leave them at home on their own for the day with the instruction to drink lots and avoid dairy. They will be just fine. And the nearly 17yo who goes to bed with a fever and wakes with a cough-her-lungs-out cough? She'll be fine on her own too. In fact, you'll leave her asleep in the morning and scrawl out a note reminder her to study around the coughing and be ready to write an essay assessment in the 100 minutes you'll have at home that night.
I do not know where the years and the little people have gone! I still look at these three and wonder how they got all the way up past me in height. But even though I was petrified of having teenagers these three have made it almost easy. There is the 'blip' and the 'dumb thing' here and there. And the teary tantrum because one's sense of justice has been breached. But they are just this beautiful overflowing of God's grace on a mother who wanted the second coming to happen before the oldest one turned 13.
Mothers of Little People? Don't be afraid of the teens you will have in your house. Teens can be so amazing. Not just mine either, there are a whole bunch of them in my girls' classes at school that are simply incredible. You know when you look at other people's teens and say to yourself "I want my child to grow up like that"? 'That' can actually happen! But don't wish away the Little People phase of life either. Cuddle them lots. Laugh with them more. One day you'll blink and they'll be learner drivers who can take care of themselves when they're sick. Who knew?