As a parent, I love the summer. When the kids are outside, all seems right with the world. They fight less. They exhaust themselves by swimming and running and playing – and everything just seems like less work.
But every year, as August winds down and September starts up, I’m eager for fall again. I’m tired of sweating and humidity and frizzy hair. Applying sunscreen to wriggly children is now fully annoying. And washing load after load of wet swimsuits and damp, stinky towels? No thanks.
So far, this holiday season has been a bit of an unusual one.
Everyone seems to be really into the spirit earlier than usual. There hasn’t been much talk of how stressful it all is (like I normally tend to hear all over Facebook). And the whole Elf on the Shelf debates are strangely non-existent. (Have I just jinxed it??)
When I had my first child, no one had prepared me for the fact that maternity leave would be incredibly lonely and isolating.
After the first three months of being stuck inside with my winter baby, I realized my entire life had flipped and everything was new and uncertain to me. So I began to seek out places and people I could interact with. Drop-in centers. Parent & tot programs. Libraries. Indoor playgrounds. Being a part of the real world kept me feeling connected. Less alone.
We walked together yesterday afternoon. The five of us.
Every year in the fall, we go apple and pumpkin picking at a local farm as a family. We all file out of the minivan, eager to enjoy the fresh, crisp air. Anna, my 6year-old, skips and hops ahead. She is dancing with her boundaries. Seeing how far she can get before we call her back. She doesn’t want to wait.
I think my toddler is adorable. She’s all teeth and eyes. She’s hilarious and smart and inquisitive – all wrapped into one ridiculously cute ball of chubby rolls.
However, the kid is also very, very irrational at times. Toddlers can be weird. They want to play the strangest games (over and over and over again), they’re a little OCD and, as a result, can make me really, really crazy.
The following is a list of toddler things that I’m not a big fan of. Fellow parents – can you relate?
I have two school-aged kids. They’re six and four years-old, so I suppose that makes them close in age. But to me, they seem worlds apart.
We walked to school one morning last week, during the last week of school. And, like most mornings, my 4 year-old daughter held my hand the entire way, happily chatting to me about her day as the class helper. My 6-year old daughter bounced and hopped ahead excitedly, talking about caterpillars and butterflies and all the other wonderful things they were learning about in class.
My third child just turned two years-old. And even though I still call her ‘the baby’ – I am aware that I no longer fall within the ranks of New Mom.
At some point during my days of lugging around overstuffed diaper bags, balancing a baby car seat on my hip and sipping giant steel-drum sized cups of coffee, my children all went and grew up on me. (Or, that’s how it feels at the ripe old ages of 6, 4 and 2 years old).
My husband plays beer-league hockey on Wednesday nights. I don’t begrudge him this time that he takes; he needs it as much as I do since he does half the parenting in our home with three young daughters.
If I’m lucky, his freedom occurs after 8pm. If I’m not, I must perform the Dance of Bedtime as a solo.
Tonight, I am unlucky. An early game. Which means he will be gone for several hours during the most difficult time frame in our little home.