Pregnancy: We are so excited to see those two pink lines on that stick! But, as the months go on, the morning sickness settles in. The last few months, it gets harder to get off the couch and my feet swell so much, I have can only fit in slippers. The gynecologist visits become more frequent and more uncomfortable. Friends assure me, “Baby will be here soon. It won’t always be this way.”
Newborn: After 9 months of waiting, the big day has finally arrived! Our lives are changed forever. The first year is exhausting. Baby wants to sleep days, and refuses to sleep nights. Baby is colicky and refuses to be comforted. And the bottles! I feel like the whole first year was standing in front of the sink cleaning them. As I’m throwing in a load of spit up clothes and sheets, I assure my husband, “It won’t always be this way.”
One year: It’s so exciting to see those first big milestones. Sitting up, crawling, climbing, and ultimately walking. But, this is also where the trouble starts. Baby starts crawling faster and faster. They are fearless as they climb onto the couch, the chairs and table, and even the computer. They get into the cereal or baby powder and dump it everywhere. I sigh after picking up the last bit and say to myself, “It wont always be this way.”
Two years: Everyone has heard of “The Terrible Twos.” Whoever coined that term was exactly right. They are the moodiest creatures to exist. If you look at them wrong, or tell them “No,” you better take cover! They start throwing everything in site. As they fling a book your way, you must also endure their blood curdling screams. My husband assures me, “It won’t always be this way.”
Three years: This is the year we really start pushing potty training. I read all the articles, buy them a potty seat and some underwear with cool characters on them. “This should be easy,” I tell myself. I set the timer for every 15 minutes, and sit them on the potty. They stare at me, confused as I make grunting sounds and say, “Let the poop or pee come out!” After a half hour I give up, and set the timer again. But, before the 15 minutes are up, their underwear is soaked, along with our couch. After months of failure, I start reading through every forum on the internet. These strangers assure me, “It won’t always be this way.”
Four years: This is their most independent year yet. I hear “No” numerous times a day, along with whining and tattling. Suddenly they’ve forgotten how to use the words “Please” and “Thank you.” Hitting becomes a problem, and time outs are at an all time high. Their imagination is flourishing, and they start waking up at night because they’re afraid of monsters. Four year olds are exhausting. My family assures me, “It won’t always be this way.”
Five years: Bedtime starts becoming a problem area. After tucking them in at 8:30, they will find 20 excuses to come out and talk to you. Soon, it’s 10:30, and I’ve had it. Their toys now belong to me. Also, at this age, don’t expect a straight answer when they’re in trouble. They will keep finding the markers and drawing all over the walls, bed, and toys. When confronted, even if their is green marker on their face, they will not tell the truth. “Three did it.” My husband is flustered that our home is looking a little worse every day. I assure him, “It won’t always be this way.”
Six years: Tantrums and crying are a daily occurrence. Emotions are at an all time high. Will it always be this way? During this year, though, something happened that made me stop and think. I was getting drinks ready for all three kids when Six announces that she will get her own drink. As I watch her get a cup, fill it up with water, and take a drink without spilling it, I realize everyone was right. Five years of her life were already gone. It didn’t last long. And suddenly I’m sad. She is getting so big! She’s old enough to sit still through a whole movie, she’s reading, writing, and making friends. She’s losing baby teeth, and wearing big kid clothes now.
Is it possible that I’ve spent all this time looking forward to the next year, instead of fully enjoying the now? Sure, there are frustrating moments, but there are also many great moments I wouldn’t trade in for anything. So then, I make a resolve to enjoy each day and each stage to the fullest. I will look for the moments in each day that make me happy, instead of wishing the next year were here already. And do you know why? Because it won’t always be this way!