Dear Toddler Mama,
Right now all you ache for is the chance to go to the bathroom without an audience. You long for the days when you can have a conversation in full sentences and without temper tantrums. I hear you! I know your desires and they are valid…but I have to warn you, these days will someday be missed. Our boys are 20 months apart, both surprise pregnancies left me reeling for many months. Two boys under age three in diapers was an enormous stress to our budget. I wished those days away frequently.
I’m typing this in the dentist office. Our life now includes after school appointments with homework in the car. This will run up to Karate, so we’ll grab a quick dinner out on the way. We’ll get home just in time to sort backpacks, pack lunches for tomorrow and say good nights. If I’m lucky, after dentist appointments I’ll get a few sentences from each of my guys about what happened at school that day.
I’m also typing this a little teary eyed. My baby…who will be nine in less than a month walked himself back to get his teeth cleaned ALONE a few minutes ago. My baby who at age four was so fearful, he had to be brought to three different dentists just to get a full set of x-rays done. My baby who up until now wouldn’t even talk to the hygienist to pick out his favorite colored toothbrush has just revealed to me his independence is developing. I know you are thinking I’m crazy, but I’m telling you, the tears are here because I wasn’t ready! I didn’t prepare my heart to watch his curly head walk away, it happened in the blink of an eye.
As the tears welled up my ten year old, who had walked out from getting his teeth cleaned seemed just as surprised as I was, even commenting this was a first, and all I could do was nod. It might seem crazy to still have “firsts” at nine, but the thing is Mama, they happen at every age and stage along the way and I’ve not been ready for one yet.
Our first born went to pre-K three mornings a week the first year, five mornings the second year. Our second would have none of that, and before I had prepared for it my mornings were kid free. The first sleepovers came with no warning at all. One day a birthday invitation arrived and with little conversation the sleeping bags came out of the closet. I cannot explain to you why my children seem more prepared for each transition than I do. My guess is that it is because they see their friends having fun and have no interest in being held back by their mother who would prefer to live in denial!
So Mama, get dirty today. Put the chore list away and go outside and laugh. Head to the park, make a snow fort, hang out at Chick Fil A’s play area. I promise you, in five years you won’t regret the piles of laundry, but you will wish you had spent a little more time playing. It won’t ever feel like enough, but you will know you did more and when your little marches himself into the dentist office your tears will be those of joy in the new found independence, because with that independence comes bathroom stops alone and the ability to watch a TV show uninterrupted.
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