Rabbit holes and memory lane

Me and Paige, Florida 2017. By Lucas.

The other day I went down a rabbit hole on YouTube. Have you watched the Great British Bake Off? On one of the seasons (I can't remember which one...) there was a tall firefighter named Matt. Well, he and his wife now have a YouTube channel to share about their lives with two young children, called The Life of Riley. It's adorable, sweet, funny, and brutally honest about what life is like as parents of two children under the age of three.

I won't tell you how many of their videos I watched over the weekend, but it was a lot. The reason I so enjoy their videos is because they remind me of when my children were that age. Fynn and Paige are 21 months apart, and so juggling a toddler and an infant was so very familiar.

My children are now 11 and 9, and parenting them is much, much, much different them than parenting toddlers and babies.

Now, if you have small children, don't worry. I'm not about to tell you to enjoy every moment because you'll miss it all one day. It doesn't do any good to glamorize the sleepless nights, the temper tantrums, the cracked nipples from early days of breast feeding, or the utter exhaustion. I remember being told I'd miss every bit of it - and to be honest? I don't. Not at all. And at the time all those comments did was make me feel like a terrible mother for not enjoying a tantruming two year old in the middle of Target while onlookers told me, "you'll miss this one day..."

But, there is a simplicity of parenting infants and toddlers that I miss, desperately.

I remember needing to meet basic human needs: food, sleep, clean and dry bums. And now, the needs we are trying to meet are ever changing: mental health, physical health, education, braces, anxiety, social situations, friendship issues, making sure they are decent human beings as they grow up right before our very eyes. Parenting, at this stage, feels much more mental than physical, but at times every bit as exhausting... just in a different way.

I wouldn't go back to my children's infancy if given the option. Neither of our children slept at all (which, to be honest, is why we have only two children...), and I really, really, really love my sleep at this point in life. But, I do miss how easily most (not all, trust me, I know not all...) problems were fixed with a bath, nap, snuggle, or snack.

So no, parents of very young children, please don't cherish all of those parenting itty bitty children moments that make you want to cry from exhaustion or with frustration. But know that certain memories of your child's baby and toddler years will make you smile as you navigate the tween years, and (I'm guessing) the rest of their journey into adulthood. They'll keep you going when times are tough, remembering how sweet your babes were, how their belly laughs were contagious, how they smelled straight out of a bath and how heavy in they grew in your arms when they finally fell asleep...

And don't get me wrong, I have loved each age and every stage of the kids development. They are fun, hysterical, sweet, smart, amazing human beings who I love being around, and the older they get the more I'm aware of what an absolute privilege it is to watch these people grow up and blossom and simply live...

...but... if you need me anytime soon, I'll just be flipping through the photo albums instead of working on novel edits (more on that next week!).

Fynn & Paige, just about exactly nine years ago

Comments

  1. I loved parenting the teen years the best. I know I am in the minority when I say that, but the physical demands of babies, toddlers just wore me out. with each step of independence I sighed a bit more relief. I'm sad that I wished their growing up quickly because now I babysit a toddler and love seeing her discover many new adventures and vaguely remember my own doing the same. Oh well, I should have had my babies in my fifties!!! (not being serious).

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  2. So good to read this, Corinne, it's like you're reading my mind. I feel like there's more at stake when parenting preteens than babies and toddlers. I feel like I worry more about the long-term effects of my kids' experience now than I did when they were little (my two are 10 & 11). It's really lit a fire under me to up my parenting game so that I can feel more confident I'm doing (most of) the right things. Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. P.S. I am also addicted to baby channels on YouTube. My favourites are New Father Chronicles and Jayde Robinson.

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  3. Oh Corinne, there were moments in this post where I laughed out loud because of how much I appreciated your honesty. : ) There are many parts of parenting babies that I will never miss (all which you mentioned here) but like you, I did look back on the simplicity of it all once my girls were adolescents. I love what you wrote: " I do miss how easily most (not all, trust me, I know not all...) problems were fixed with a bath, nap, snuggle, or snack."
    Snuggle, feed, comfort, bathe, repeat...it was lovely, right?
    I am enjoying these years the most. They are all adults now and I am fortunate in that I share a close relationship with all three and that they are each close to one another in spite of the difference in their ages (34, 30, 27). I love it most when we are all together, which doesn't happen as often as I'd like.
    : ) xx

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  4. Some days are just that way... good ideas of how to get out of that feeling. Thanks for the positive ideas.

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