The general refrain when you have small children is to cherish every moment, because it goes by so fast. I am guilty of endlessly reminding myself not to wish away these little days, even when I feel like screaming and crying given how hard and tedious they can be, because I’m sure someday I’ll want them back again.
So, imagine my surprise when a friend of mine, another writer, insisted quite the opposite.
“Trust me, you won’t want them to be small again. The conversations get so much more interesting when they’re older.”
Nobody says this. Sure, parents of older children have lots to say about what’s great about this age or that, but they always seem to pine for these years, for the excessively needy under-fives. And while there’s something truly endearing about my nearly three-year-old when she’s drawing ghosties and pumpkins, putting her Stormtrooper action figures to bed and generally doing her best to be the Wednesday Addams of a daughter I’ve always wanted, she turns right around and repeatedly kicks her sister in the belly and runs off to willfully pee in her undies and I’m. Just. Done.
I see mamas with older daughters, sharing strawberry smoothies at my favorite coffee haunts or browsing middle-grade or YA books at a local bookstore, and I just think, how cool. That will be us someday times two, Miss E and Little Sister and me having adventures that little resemble those we have now: play dates and park visits and zoo romps that nearly always end in tears from overtiredness.
And while I’m sure there will be challenges of a different kind when they’re older, and while already I long for Little Sister’s slumbering body to be smaller and less restless than she is everyday becoming, I’m excited to see who my girls will grow up to be, for them to teach me about something more than how to be patient.