A recent trip with our family of seven caused me to sit back and reflect how much joy my older kids are bringing me these days. I had to stop and share some hope with all the fledgling parents out there…
Here are the top ten reasons to hang on through the toddler years:
10. Someday your children might learn to drink out of a cup. And might just manage to hold the cup still and not knock it over(!!!!) Bye bye sippy cups! No more senseless minutes wasted matching cups and spouts and stoppers! More cabinet space! Fewer dishes! See all the joy that comes from one accomplishment?!
9. Underwear is glorious! Dry underwear is even better!! Good bye diapers, hello bathroom independence. We welcome you!
8. Your kids can swim and won’t scare the bejesus out of you in the pool. Can I get an amen out there? No doubt I am (still) an anxious mommy around the water, but after just returning from the beach, I will say that I can let my guard down (a little) with my oldest two who are relatively proficient swimmers. Hallelujah and then some.
7. Your older kids might tell a joke and it might possibly make sense and be funny. “Why did the cookie go to the hospital?” my 6yo asked the other day, “Because it was feeling crumby.” Ha! Very entertaining.
6. Vacations might actually be fun with older kids. Not that they weren’t “fun” before, but you actually might come back only partially exhausted rather than completely so. Your children might actually be fun people who enjoy having a good time. (I honestly do love my toddlers, but I’m just really loving my age 4+ crew at the moment!) And your kids might also tolerate you putting sunscreen on them–imagine that glory?!
5. Your kids will start eating real food! If you’re lucky, this might have been happening for years and you can read on. But not in my case! I never thought I’d see the day, but my 8yo recently ordered something off the adult menu at a restaurant where we were eating. This was so exciting and such a milestone for him! He now will compliment me on dishes I serve that he likes and eats, even if they’re something new he’s never tried before. What a joy this is!
4. If you have a larger family, your older kids will love and care for the younger ones. Talk about making my heart want to explode! There is no greater moment as a parent than watching the love in your home multiply between siblings, older and younger. Enough said.
3. One day your kids will bathe and dress themselves. What?!? This is future independence and you won’t know what to do with yourself, you’ll be so giddy.
2. Your kids will evolve into amazing little people who question and think and read and process and question again to understand the deeper meaning about things. They will probably help you dive deeper into issues so that you can provide sensible, reasonable answers to their questions. They will teach you and you will teach them. Win-win.
1. And finally, the countless hours of correction and guidance and prayer and more correction that you’ve been putting in since day 1 will start to produce fruit. This is total joy for a parent! For some kids it will take many more years of guidance (but you’ll still enjoy improvement). For other kids, it will stick like glue and you’ll bask in the goodness (knowing full well you still have years to go)… But you’ll be willing to make the investment because you see that something you’re doing is (hopefully) having a good effect. Thanks be to God.
Perhaps I need to have a conversation with this lady and give her a little pep talk.
Hang on, friends. Parenting is a wild ride, but just know good things are coming. Keep the faith and God bless.