I really feel like we are in a sweet spot with our kids' ages. They are much more independent, yet still adorable and love to be with us. At 5 and nearly 7, our lives look so different then those oh-so-hard early years, for reasons expected & surprising.
1) Independence. They can play on their own or together for large stretches of times. This means we can do our own thing, or at least work together on chores instead of one person having to constantly be on "kid duty". Mornings are so much easier, too. They wake up and play until breakfast is ready. Then they go up themselves and brush teeth & change clothes & play until its time for school. They can go to the bathroom on their own, completely and totally.
I can't even express what a game-changer this is, in terms of being able to relax and enjoy our time together in addition to getting things done. There were several days this fall where I even worked from home while the kids were there! Without having to resort (too much) to screen time.
2) Actual fun. The things they want to do with us (and they still DO want to play with us, a lot) are actually fun! Playing boardgames like chess and checkers (we got rid of the inanity of CandyLand) is FUN for me. Racing each other at the park (and them actually winning sometimes even when I try), cooking/baking together when they actually can do things (they can crack eggs, level measuring cups, etc...), working on large (500 piece) puzzles, watching movies we ALL enjoy (though they mostly want to watch Lego Starwars yoda chronicles over and over). It helps that the two of us like different things, so I'll play chess and G will do legos (ugh).
3) Advanced thinking. Anticipating something and planning for it adds so much joy to the event. For L's birthday this year, B wanted to buy him a present with his own money, and picked a day he had off from school to go to the store. For the next few weeks, there were whispered conversations (because he just HAD to talk to me about the present when L was around), and giggling plans. B also helps me plan our weekends, meal plan (he'll look through cook books and show me things...they are usually deserts, but he gets the point). They both like looking at the calendar and counting down until fun events. And then they are able to remember details---more than I ever could---and live to relive our memories over and over, stretching out the enjoyment even more.
4) Challenging conversations. I actually love navigating their questions about politics, race, how babies get out, science, etc... They ask really interesting questions and demand an honest answer. I love being the one to shape their early views and get to hear their own (naive but thoughtful) perspective on things.
This is the part of parenting I'm best suited for and I'm loving and savoring it. I was not really a "baby mom" or a "toddler mom" and I have no idea how I'll feel about being the mom of a teen (ha ha, not "teen mom"), so I'm really glad we have a few more years in this little-big-kid stage.
Love all of this. It's like a rose colored crystal ball for me. I can imagine glimpses but not the whole picture yet (plus I'm still considering uhhh .. prolonging this stage for a few more years, up in the air). I love when A asks the hard questions too.ReplyDelete
Thank you for this post! It makes me excited for the coming years when my 3 yo and 1 up twins are older.ReplyDelete
Yeah, the conversations are the best part for me too.😀ReplyDelete
When I was an early teen, my best friend was a baby-mom-in-the-making. We had a solemn agreement that any children we had, she'd care for them until they started saying "why" all the time, then I'd have them until they started being teenagers, then she'd have them back. I LOVE the 'little-big-kid' stage, love the imagination and the confidence to be themselves and the clear way they see the world, and how willing they are to share their world with trusted adults. I still think it would have been a great approach... (we live at opposite ends of the country, she has 3 kids I have none, but still...)ReplyDelete
Thanks for this. I sometimes wonder if we'll ever get there, especially when my 6yo is acting like a 3yo, but I see glimpses and it seems marvelous. I am also not a baby/toddler mom and I'm so done with this phase. Bring on the bigger kids!ReplyDelete
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