My husband has been traveling for two weeks for conferences and research, so it’s been just the kids and me, in England out of our usual element and without outside support or company. In spite of desperately missing our hero, we have been having a truly delightful time together. For quite a few years, for the most part, I felt like the most delightful part of motherhood was my husband’s return home at the end of the day and the kids’ bedtime. Now in retrospect I can see how draining, although purifying, the 3 children under 3 phase was for me. That has changed drastically. Children are always a great gift, but having a four and five year old, along with a toddler, is simply a blast:
They can accomplish one part of a project while I prepare or work on another part—we get some real teamwork action going. For example, I love baking, but I can’t say baking with them was fun and productive until recently. Now they can do a whole dough or batter by themselves while I cleanup or put ingredients away.
They are old enough to enjoy books that I enjoy like the Chronicles of Narnia. I admit I couldn’t stand reading aloud to them when they were younger, even supposedly “good” literature. Now we can get lost in a normal book for as long as our 2 year old will allow it.
Their expressions of imagination and creativity have moved from slapstick spazzing or potty talk to genuinely amusing ideas that make me laugh hysterically. Not just because I’m so proud of them as their mother but because they are wildly hilarious and witty, even edgy.
They desire to be good in their hearts, not just because I’m demanding it. I witness more and more virtuous decisions being made independently, and unprompted efforts toward generosity.
They play constructive games together without my supervision—I get them started, and then their cooperation and creativity draw them into all kinds of cheerful, enriching play.
Together, we enjoy the boisterous demolition constantly being carried out by our toddler. Handling two-year-old antics is SO much happier and lighter when older siblings are cracking up and helping clean up the disasters.
There is still plenty of whining, willful misbehavior, and good old fashioned sibling bickering. But what a joy it is to reap the rewards of surviving the toddler years and having two superfun little companions full of inspiring goodness and unending laughs.