Nearly Five

Laurel is nearly five, which means a few things. She'll soon be old enough for Real School necessitating some real decisions on our part, we'll teach her to use a knife (house rule) and she is so firmly into childhood that her baby-ness is just a memory now. I don't even think about it when she climbs in my lap anymore. She's all legs and complicated questions.

But also, I've been someone's mother for five years. Five years! The transformation into motherhood was jolting at first, and then all-encompassing as I obsessed over the proper way to diaper, wean or sleep-train my way through the first years, and has now faded to a layer that sits beneath the surface...always there, but not the most important thing about me anymore. Having kids helped me to realize a part of my personality that was always there, but I didn't know I had. And now there is no separating the mother part of me from any other part.

After five years, my biggest lesson is that in having kids, you are inviting actual people to come into your life for a really long time. (Wanting a "baby" is kind of dangerous. Like wanting a kitten, it goes by really fast and they are super cute and cuddly and then you have a cat for like 15 years. Hope you like cats.)

The books make it sound like child-rearing is this series of gameboards you must conquer before moving on to the next level. There's infant sleep then potty training then tantrums. Then school. Peer pressure. Tweens and teen stuff. Apply each solution to the appropriate developmental stage and WIN!

Parenting has been more like committing to a long-term relationship before I really knew what I was getting into. Along the way you learn about each other...likes and dislikes and how to get along. How to disagree and make up. What you can share together joyfully. What you should just avoid in the spirit of family harmony. How to balance everyone's needs.


Anonymous said...

I personally think you are doing an awesome job as a Mom!!
aunt laine

Anonymous said...

I heart this post. -- kj