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Tuesday, October 09, 2012

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Love this! Age 3 is my best so far but we will see how it goes. Baby stuff was incredibly hard for me.

I've always known I wasn't a baby person. Oh, I've enjoyed cuddling and rocking another person's baby to sleep, and as a babysitter in high school I could take care of babies efficiently, but I was never one to melt to pieces upon seeing a baby. So I went into the early years of Gwen's life knowing that it wasn't going to be especially pleasant, and that has helped so much. It allows me to look at the past year and not judge being a parent on the basis of being a parent of an infant. There is simply so much I am looking forward to that will make up for the unpleasantness of this first year. When she can talk, when we can start discussing what we did at school that day (an advantage of being an academic is that we'll be able to do "homework" together at night), when she moves out, gets married, has kids, when I have grandkids. There is so much more to being a parent than just being a parent to an infant, and reminding myself of this helps get me through the hard kids.

Now that I've had three, I'd say that babyhood is my time. Lacking sleep doesn't phase me too much (says the mom of singletons) and our third seemed to just fit into our lives so easily. When I just had two, the infant was by far the easier of the kids even though that infant is not such an easy kid now.

Now, managing school logistics of 4-8 year olds made me pretty nuts. I just DID NOT CARE if I filled out the reading list properly or remembered to return the weekly thing at the right time. I felt bad about it. Now, 5 weeks into homeschooling, I've had to own the lists and the prepwork and now I care about it and it happens! As a big bonus, I'm putting more effort and time into my big kids instead of feeling like I hand them over at 8:30am and sign off on parenting even when they're home.

Toddlerhood has been very kid-dependent for me. My first was impossible. #2 and #3 have been pretty pleasant toddlers. I crack up all the time at #3's toddlerness and I didn't do that the first time. Maybe everything's just way harder the first time. I've been a huge fan of age 1 with all 3 kids. That year seems so full of new learning and discoveries that I overlook shifting nap schedules and the never-ending safety hazards.

Ooo, my mom and I love this topic! She and I are both Newborn fans. But we both have lots of friends/acquaintances who can't wait for that stage to be over. I go nuts during the stage that starts at mobility (luckily late for all my kids) and ends at about two and a half. Then I'm happy again from then until about age twelve, as it turns out. It makes me dread the future a bit, because it feels like all the stages I love are OVER, or petering out---but there are still a lot of good years left in the littles, and maybe by then I'll have found a post-12 age to look forward to!

I remember when my three were small, looking at moms with teens and thinking "I'm so happy mine are small--I don't think I can ever do that!" But of course parenthood comes one day at a time and pretty soon my girls were (are!) 18, 17, and 14, and I love it! Well, I miss the one who's at college something fierce, but she's so happy I can't be too sad.

To anyone who dreads parenting teens I recommend the book "The Good Teen." (I rarely read parenting books but was moved to check this one out.) I forget the author's name but he's very involved with 4-H. The book is a great reminder of how good most teens are, and how much they're still learning and we have to allow for that. One example that stayed with me: he reminds us that we'd never say to a 5-year-old who's working to master tying shoes, "Oh, you're SUCH a 5-year-old!" in a scolding, disappointed way. But we'll say something like that to a teen who's working to master something very difficult like time-management, or negotiating friendships, or driving.

Sorry this is so long! I'm not a baby person either, and wouldn't go back to the physical demands of three children under 6 for anything! Don't be afraid of parenting in the teen years--it has fantastic rewards along with the challenges!

I do OK with babies and love the sweet spot between 6-9 months, but 1-year-olds were so so hard for me. I didn't like either of my boys much from 11 to about 18 months. Love yes, like no. Two-year-olds on the other hand are my very favorite things in the world, and I haven't really struggled with any age since then. Of course, my oldest still is a few months away from 5. I have plenty of parenting yet to discover.

I like that you're upfront and honest about not loving the baby stage - it gives other women permission to be the kind of mom they want to be and say they don't like certain aspects of motherhood. (Like me and being a lazy, err, laid back, mom! I am NOT one to create activities for my child, etc, etc.)

I liked babyhood for the most part (not the late night why-is-he-crying parts) because I loved co-sleeping and nursing and just how simple and sweet and quiet our live was. Though I'm thinking that would change with a second baby! I LOVE Gabe's age now because he is absolutely delightful 90% of the time. I'm lucky that I had a fairly easy transition to motherhood, so I think that helped loving the newborn stage. It was all just so new and cool and sure, sometimes I wondered what the heck I was doing, but for the most part it felt pretty NBD to incorporate Gabe into our life.

PS: I'm glad you aren't going to stop blogging on here! As you know, yours was the first I ever fell in love with and I love you on Twitter, but I love hearing your thoughts more fully on here. :)

This is kind of depressing for me to talk about, because my absolute favorite stage is newbornhood. I’ve liked some stages since (and hated others), but it doesn’t get any better than the first six months (which are over so fast!). Even the no sleeping. My favorite memories ever are sitting in a still, quiet house at 2 or 3 in the morning when the world is asleep and it’s just me, my nursing baby, and my magazine/kindle. Probably partially because I’m a night owl and that time of night is my favorite anyway, but usually I have no reason to be up/excuse for being tired the next day. Also, because I LOVE the time before my babies start solid foods and nursing is all they’ve got (and before they can crawl). This is the reason colic is a huge, huge fear for me, because I can’t imagine something stealing my favorite part of having babies.

As I said, I do like other stages – I think the young classroom stage might be one for me, too, because I’m loving Margaret being in AWANA (Wednesday night church group). I like the homework, signing off in her book, conversations about learning and listening to the teacher, sewing patches on her vest (uniform)…all of it. But, man, I miss having a newborn. It’s a bummer they turn into toddlers, which I’m really not a fan of.

I am definitely not a baby person. I always loved being in school and all the organization that came with it, so I'm optimistic that I will love my kids being in school too.

I love babies, but I can see how that stage can be isolating for some moms. And I will say that so far infancy was the hardest stage (work-wise), even though I loved it. I have also loved toddlerhood and the preschool years. Which isn't to say that there haven't been certain phases that I wasn't thrilled with, or that I have loved every minute. Even my favorite stages have had their stressors. That's life. But I just love these early years, the innocence, enthusiasm and affection. I honestly can't imagine it getting any better than this. I hope I'm wrong, because I know these days are numbered. And the funny thing is that much as I love my son's current age, when I see pictures of him as an infant or toddler, I miss those days so much. I wish I could have it all, all the time, but of course that's not realistic and would probably be overwhelming. But boy do I want to pick up that little baby in those photos and give him a big hug!

I liked babyhood, but didn't have a fetish for it. I mostly liked toddlerhood, except for the ear infections. I went out of my mind for 3 & 4...but 5-8 was awesome. Nine was fun but there was some mouthy attitude, which I learned is normal because all of her Scout friends had it, too. Ten I am loving with my whole heart...I see the beginning of maturity, and it is so incredibly exciting to contemplate the young woman she will be. Gushing, I know.

I did not like signing so much school paperwork, and we had some teachers who didn't have a great discipline style and wanted us to sign behavior contracts or do home punishments for school issues. This year we have somebody who (gasp) rewards kids for good behavior, and restricts privileges for transgressions. Every time I have been asked on a form what "works" on her, I have said this and now finally we have a teacher who believes in it. It's our most peaceful year since K.

Surprisingly, I am enjoying working with others' kids in Girl Scouts. The meetings are fast and crazy, but the outings are when you really get to know the kids and I love the group dynamics once they know each other. You stay with the same troop the whole time, adding or losing members, and it's cool to watch them flourish. Now the parents...luckily one is now a friend so there is that, but some of the others are not so easy. It's given me lots to contemplate and surely I will grow from the experience, just like everything else that parenting throws our way!

Hmm, I don't really know. I think I like most of the stages so far. I like babies and I like big(ger) kids. I do really enjoy Elizabeth's company now. She's more of a buddy than she was when she was little.

TWO is my sweet spot. Oh, how I love two (my youngest just turned two)! I found 12-18 months REALLY trying with my second daughter (late walker so I had to haul her everywhere, sleep issues) but not so much with my first. Our roughest year yet with my first was age four, which really surprised me bc I hadn't heard anybody say four was particularly trying, especially compared to three (which was not perfect but also not awful). She just turned five, so here's hoping. I really WANT to enjoy my lovely daughter again!

Happy to see a post from you again! :-)

It relieves me somewhat to see all these other mothers saying they don't love the baby stage, either. I never realized I wasn't a baby person until I started having them. I dreaddreaddread the newborn time. After that, i can manage, and babies are sweet and all that, but I really love when they get to be two. (Except potty training. Wish I could skip that.) The 2 1/2yo I have now is just pure sweet, but my 1yo makes me a little crazy. And I have to say I'm really loving the school-age years. My 7yo becomes more capable by the day and I love watching his love of learning develop. I love homeschooling him (not so much the toddlers climbing all over me while we do school) because we can learn together and enjoy it so much.

I also have never understood people who "love" being pregnant. I don't enjoy pregnancy, and always feel a little guilty when I'm told I should be enjoying it. I'm starting that journey yet again right now, and I admit I'm struggling quite a bit...

I love newborns, but I don't do well with sleep-deprivation, so I don't enjoy that stage as much as I might if babies slept through the night right away. (Also, I've had easy-going babies. I don't think I would love the newborn phase with a colicky baby.)

As far as hitting my stride, I don't think I have yet. I've enjoyed most phases (not a big fan of about 12-18 months) and I feel like I manage just fine, but I don't feel like I'm great at it. Actually, I was just discussing this with a friend the other day, lamenting that so far my strong point as a parent is disciplining. Not the most fun. And it doesn't make me feel like I'm a great mom, even though I get many compliments on my kids' behavior. I always expected that I would be one of those play-on-the-floor-with-my-kids moms and I'm just not. Maybe (hopefully?) school age will be it for me too. I guess I'll find out next year!

What's hard for me is that it gets better...and then gets worse again. I'm at a spot that I find very very difficult to navigate. My youngest is three (my FAVORITE age) and my oldest is 17, and between them I feel like I'm losing my mind. It is humbling to find again that this is not a linear process, where I build upon past success with greater ability. I can only try to make my way through today. And some days are so much better than others (by which I mean some days are so so much worse).

No kiddos yet, but I often wonder "stages" will be easier for me. The thought of raising teenagers scares me, but hopefully it won't be as bad as I think.

It took me reading all the other comments to realize that so far, I really don't like the latter six months of each year. But I only have a single two-year-old so far. Loved having a newborn, and the first few months of infancy, but I can remember when my daughter was 7 months feeling like I was failing, failing, failing because I just didn't know what to do with her all day. AND I was (am) working from home and had a babysitter for 12 or so hours a week. Things got better around a year - to the best of my recollection, at least, I really enjoyed 15 months especially, despite the fact that she was still a terrible sleeper (I believe that's when my daughter started opening her mouth and pointing at her tongue any time she wanted to eat, which was pretty much the cutest thing I think she's done in her whole life of pretty cute things). Eighteen months was pretty much wretched for us - all the clinginess of a newborn, but capabilities that made me expect to be much less needed. Then it gradually got better and now at two I'm finding her (mostly) delightful again. But! I'm newly pregnant and really worried that the first-trimester symptoms are going to make this stage more difficult than I would otherwise find it. And I'm really looking forward to having kids whose "phases" aren't such a rapid-fire roller coaster. I hate feeling like I've finally mastered parenting an "x-month old" only to have everything change the very next week.

Finally, I have to say that for me, what I've found difficult about her various "ages" has had a lot to do with expectations. My daughter is fairly high needs, but even if the next one is similar, I can't help but have much lower expectations with some experience under my belt. I mean, right? This is true, right?

Rbelle: I had a similar experiences with the 1/2 year marks (except I did like the second half of the first year). At 18 months, 2.5 years, 3.5 years and 4.5 years my son went through tricky stages. I can't say they lasted for 6 months, but other than his first year, each 1/2 year seemed to mark a tricky stage. I still love all the early years, but those 1/2 year marks were examples of moments that weren't my favorite.

I don't know that I've hit my stride yet with my kids. They are 16 months old and I'm fairing okay. I know I'm not a baby person. Never been one to *have* to hold a new baby or gush all over one. After reading what you wrote I think I would have to say that I am looking forward to the school years. I can't wait to talk about what they are learning, seeing them go off with their backpacks full of school stuff, and just enjoy seeing their little minds expand. I think that will be a fun time!

I love babyhood. It's truly when I feel like I am in my element (maybe that's how I ended up with 5 kids!) Toddlerhood is not my thing - and age 4 is my least favorite so far. I think that a lot of it is personality dependent. My 8 year old has an extremely difficuly personality and I have yet to feel like "yeah, I got this" with her. My twins are like a cake-walk in comparison. At 10 1/2 they are pretty terrific. It's dealing with all the school-age angst that is pushing me to the edge with them. I've always tended to the glass being half empty side of things and am working on finding more joy in each stage of the game. It's hard when the twins are crying over social stuff, the 8 year old can't figure out her math homework, the 4 year old is shrieking because she wants ice cream for dinner and the 5 month old has a blowout diaper and there is poop all over my new couch. But yeah, I'm looking for my stride.

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