Parenting babies and toddlers is the easy part.
Well, it’s the easier part, as there’s really nothing particularly easy about parenting. From the moment that they hand you that wrinkled, sleepy-eyed pile of baby goo, you have signed up for an adventure the likes of which you couldn’t have possibly imagined. But, the baby and toddler part? Way easier. Sure, there are things like feeding issues and colic and I don’t really think anyone loves the not-sleeping part, but as a parent, your mission is pretty simple: Meet the child’s basic needs. It’s true. Make sure the child is dry, clean, fed, happy. Not easy, but you know your tasks. You know that you can purchase most of the supplies you will need at Shoppers Drug Mart and Baby Gap.
It’s when they get a little older than things get more complicated. You have to help your children in ways that no one ever told you about. You have to know how to make a 3D traffic light book report. You have to make sure your daughter is making friends in first grade. You have to teach your son how to blow his nose. You have to teach your daughter how to blow bubbles with gum. You have to know how to teach someone to memorize lines. You have to figure out how to connect with your sons who don’t like to watch football. You have to figure out how to deal with pre-adolescence. These are things that don’t come with a manual and you can’t buy the tools you need at the mall.
You have to fly by the seat of your pants and hope your ass holds up. And hope that you did something right.
I have been particularly pants-flying of late. With children in 5th, 4th and 1st grades, with a full-time job (with a bonus commute), with friends, with money stresses, I have to be a grown-up. I still feel like I am sixteen, so this grown-up concept is not particularly easy for me (I want my mommy). There are big decisions to be made regarding school and tuition and work. There are huge things happening in the lives of people close to me. And there are little decisions that are equally as important, like how to get my son off of his damn DS all the time.
I signed Emily up for sleepover camp. In Wisconsin.Â
I am participating in the Harry Potter project with Joshua.Â
This July, I will be packing shorts and t-shirts and stationary and running shoes into duffel bags and putting my oldest daughter on a bus for four weeks. She has been ready for yearsâ€”begging, pleading, crying. And why wouldn’t she be? Summer camp was probably the best time I ever had as a kid. I started going the summer after third grade and went every single summer until my wedding. I was a camper, a cleaner, a counselor. I made friends I will never forget, I have stories I’ll cherish forever. I met my husband there. I want all of these things for my Emily. I can’t wait for her to have friends she’ll never forget and stories she’ll cherish forever.
But she’s my baby.
And before long she will be doing independent things; things I don’t know about, things she doesn’t want me to be a part of.
Josh and I, in an effort to get him off of his damn DS for a minute, and in an effort to do something together, since dude doesn’t like football (where did this child come from?) we began the Harry Potter Project. We each took turns reading each book and then we’d watch the corresponding movie together. Josh read the books first and would come to me and ask me questions. Have you gotten to this part yet? Do you know who RAB is? Do you think Snape is bad or do you think Snape is good? Has Dumbledore died yet? I loved this. The two of us were connecting in a way we never had before. Just us. And now the books are finished and the movies have allÂ beenÂ watched. and I know how RAB is and I know whether Snape was bad or good. And yes, Dumbledore is dead. So now we are done. And I need to come up with another project for the two os us.
Because he’s my baby.
And before long he will be doing independent things; things I don’t know about, things he doesn’t want me to be a part of.
And I want them to do these things. I want them to be their own people and have adventures of their own. But I still want them to come into my room and night and snuggle in close and tell me all of their adventures. At least for a little while longer.
See? Babies and toddlers. EASY PART.
Not the easy part.