A glimpse of spring, and the big kid life

photo-129We’ve had a lot of snow and ice this winter. As I’m writing this, more is headed for the Philly area. But this past weekend was glorious for February, with highs in the 50s and a fair amount of sunshine both days. It was a brief glimpse of the spring weather that should be upon us within the next few weeks. In theory, the daffodils will be up within the month. I hope!

For us, it was also a glimpse of what life may be like with big kids. We’ve had babies around the house for 6.75 years now, but my 2-year-old daughter recently crossed the mark of how old my oldest was when my second child was born. In other words, this is the oldest my youngest kid has ever been! She’s still in diapers, and she’s also unpredictable. Sometimes she decides to run herself a bath, or put diaper cream all over her stuffed animals and dolls, so if she’s disappeared for a while, it’s a good idea to check what she’s up to. Nonetheless, she isn’t a baby anymore. So we start to be able to do big kid things.

On Friday night, I was in New York at an event so my husband took the three kids to the Lego movie. They all ate their popcorn and watched the movie. Disaster did not ensue. This is a major step.

On Saturday morning, we slept in until 8:30. This is also a pretty spectacular sign that the kids are growing up. Our late rising meant we almost didn’t have enough time to make it to the pancake breakfast fundraiser we wanted to hit at the Tyler Arboretum. But we loaded everyone in and went and learned how maple syrup is made from tree sap. All three kids watched with some level of interest. We made it to the YMCA in time for the two boys’ basketball games. Kids’ sports — another sign of big kid-dom.

That evening we were feeling adventurous, so we went out for Mexican food at Uncle Julio’s, which just opened up at a nearby mall. Yes, they have crayons and kid menus. It wasn’t a completely relaxing dinner, but this was largely because my 6-year-old kept kicking me and asking to see my phone. We didn’t have to race out of the restaurant because someone was screaming. I actually enjoyed my margarita instead of sucking it down. This is progress.

We still have many little kid moments. All car trips involve buckling three kids into car seats and booster seats. Any given morning can feature someone crying. But sometimes milestones turn out to be more about process than discrete events. I saw this past weekend that we are deep into that process.

And hopefully spring will be here for sure soon.

Photo: Courtesy my 6-year-old, taken out of the backseat of the car on the way to the Arboretum

20 thoughts on “A glimpse of spring, and the big kid life

  1. Laura,
    These are some of my favorite posts, not because I want my 21-month-old twins to skip a developmental phase but because you affirm that parenthood is just that: a series of phases, each with its own set of perks and challenges. I can be a bit dramatic about parenting twin toddlers, but having a child in the baby phase for 6.75 years is a long phase. I think it’s helpful not to read too much into a Mexican meal that wasn’t what we remember it to have been in our child-free 20s and see making it through without having to flee the restaurant as a success.

    1. @Griffin- I am totally thrilled with being able to eat at cheesy chain restaurants without disaster. Oh, have I longed for the ability to waste money on mediocre food! I’m serious. And yes, parenting is a string of many phases. I have to say that 12-24 months is probably my least favorite though, so I sympathize with you being in it, doubled-up.

      1. We were fooled by the 6-12 month grace period and did go out with them from time to time. At 13 months we had a disastrous Mexican night. Among other things, twin son knocked over my margarita and husband did not notice he was sucking on the lime while I was dealing with twin daughter outside. We took a good 8 month restaurant hiatus but have found a few kid-friendly places that now work. There is a reason said chains exist, says the former food snob who used to check off places in Zagat with her husband during their kid-free days!

      2. I’ve had surprisingly good luck taking kids to sports bars now that our city is smoke-free in restaurants. (Finally!) Between the TVs and boisterous conversations, no one notices how loud our crew is, and the parents can get a pretty good burger & beer, and the appetizer menu usually works great as a kid menu.

        1. Yes, bars are our dinner venue of choice with kids. Though we did try a Mexican place last weekend. The chips kept them entertained (and also ended up being their only dinner)

    2. Haha, my big thrill (even today) is solo grocery shopping. I am definitely looking forward to being able to travel with DS as he gets older (and I’ve just got the one); we’ve traveled plenty with him since he was teeny tiny and he’s absolutely a trouper and usually great, but there’s still only so much that a little kid can do/understand/endure.

  2. Last Sunday my daughter:
    1. Colored over the wall with orange crayon (where she got it, we don’t know)
    2. Plugged DC1’s toilet with toilet paper (DC1 left the seat up and unlocked)
    3. Poured water all over my chair
    4. Poured the rest of the water over the clean folded laundry
    5. tried to help clean up after the toilet flood, including putting her wet toilety hands in her mouth
    6. Somehow got all of the stuff down from DC1’s 4th shelf, including the markers we’d put there because she likes to draw on things that aren’t paper
    7. drew all over DC1’s wall and herself with a liberated brown marker
    I’m missing some stuff. We spent most of the day cleaning up after the mess she made when we were cleaning up after the last mess she made. She and DH did take a nap! (Saturday I had to work an event and DH took the kids to the city, which also wore him out.)

    1. @NicoleandMaggie- Sounds like quite a day! My little one has a more mischievous streak I think than the others. Maybe it’s just when the oldest was her age we were in a small apartment so he couldn’t get away with much. Kid no 2 isn’t temperamentally oriented that way so we didn’t have the same issues. We caught her trying to climb on a chair to get the vitamins down from the top shelf in the cupboard…

      1. My son is (usually) a total sweetheart who (usually) never gets into trouble and is risk averse. (Though he also gets into more mischief when he’s not being challenged.) One of those reasons I hate it when people say things about gendered toddler behavior –my kids are the opposite of the stereotypes.

  3. Oh, big kid life! I frequently tell people my baby is “11 months old, so almost human.” The first year is the roughest for me, and it’ll be over in three weeks, and I cannot wait. Life really does get better with every milestone. I am really enjoying the baby’s snuggles — he’s just discovered how to give hugs, so he’s delightful and yummy right now — but I look at how much fun my 3.5-year-old is and sometimes can’t wait to get there, never-ending questions, defiance, picky eating and all.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend!

    1. Last night the three (formerly stray) kittens got into the cabinet that stores all of the extra toilet paper rolls for the house. It looks like Christmas in the master bathroom now. I think we’re just going to leave it like that for a while.

  4. Not to scare anyone, but here goes. Back in the 60s it was common practice to burn the raked-up fall leaves. We had a bin for this. We also had a wicker bushel in the garage for newspapers. You know where I’m going with this. My mom saw the 3-year-old walking back and forth with a bathroom glass of water. He’d lit the newspapers on fire “to help Daddy” but realized it wasn’t like the leaves. The fire department got lost getting to our house, but a fellow “happened” to be driving by, he had a fire extinguisher in his car. (Yeah, I believe in guardian angels!)

    The same kid uncapped our new-on-the-market Sanford Magic Markers, walked down the hall, into the master, down one side of the bedspread and up the other. We didn’t have markers in our house again until 1970.

    Now he’s a teacher. Fear the next generation!

    1. @Nother Barb – oh dear. I’ve found the 2-year-old with marker all over her own body, but so far not too much else. I imagine it’s a matter of time.

  5. I really enjoyed these posts.
    Maybe fodder for a book –

    Parenting, Unedited.
    Honestly I think it is hilarious and rings more true than most of what you read.

    We entered a restaurant for brunch on Sat. a.m. (a rare treat as we don’t usually eat out on a Sat. a.m.) and as soon as we walked into the restaurant my son started crying. Then later into the meal when he calmed down after being walked around outside I came in to the table and long story short ended up flat on my back under the table. My husband had attempted to pull a chair out at hte same time I had attempted to sit down with 3-year old on my lap at the same time that our bag of kid-stuff tipped the not-so-sturdy chair. At any rate by the time we left the restaurant I was just in a state of relief that we made it through the meal. Thing is I took the little postcard from the restaurant of the Ape on the empire state building drinking (juice – aka wine) and kissing the glass b/c said 3-year old just got such a kick out of it. Funny how you can recall with such great love such tremendous CRAZINESS. I laughed when I read the post about — toilet paper being unwrapped. In some ways we think our kids are so unique and some experiences are so universally ; ) nuts and beautiful !

  6. Here is an idea for a chapter in a book called
    “Parenting Unedited”
    Solo grocery shopping.. orgasm of the working parent …

    another chapter could be called…

    Golden Silence… And Unraveling Toilet Paper etc.

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