My twins are 6 months old. They are the quintessential marshmallow babies with rolls upon rolls in their healthy little legs. They are eating an array of mashed up steamed veggies that include spinach, green beans, carrots, and squash. They are ravenous eaters, and I am a proud mommy. I am proud of the choices I have made for my kids and I am proud that they are gobbling up all this healthy goodness. A sweet mom of two kids, 2 and 4, passes me in the restaurant. “Oh, your kids are adorable!” She exclaims. “And what good eaters! Oh, my kids use to eat everything too. But wait until they hit toddlerhood! They’ll be fighting you over every last pea you put on their plate, and then all they’ll eat is mac n’ cheese!” she chuckles and passes on by.
My twins are 12 months old. We are out shopping for the holidays. They sit in their stroller and stare at the crowds of people while munching on raisins. “Your kids are so well-behaved! Just wait until they hit their terrible two’s! Oh, what a nightmare!”
My twins are 2 years old. We are at the grocery, and they happily hold boxes of crackers I hand to them or bottles of condiments. We are at the cash register. “How old are your kids? Two? Oh my, twins! Just wait until they are three, they won’t be good listeners anymore!”
My twins are 4 years old and my baby girl is 13 months old. We venture out as a family on a Friday night to the local pizzeria. My twins giggle and pass toys back and forth across the table, and my little girl stares at the people at other tables, then stares and babbles at her siblings. “Your kids are so sweet! Get in all the family time you can now, because when they’re older, they won’t want to have pizza with you on a Friday night anymore!”
My 4-year-old girl and I go out for a mommy-daughter date. I introduce her to shopping for her own things for the first time. She is in awe of all the little girl jewelry at the jewelry store. “Your daughter is so sweet! Wait until she’s a teenager! You’ll be singing a different tune then!”
Here is the thing. I know you have good intentions, but your anticipation of what horrible things I am to expect is killing me. Maybe in the years to come my kids will not want to spend a Friday night with me. Maybe my daughters will be a handful as teenagers. (I can hear it now, “you have TWO daughters! Oh boy! Just you wait! They are awful!) But right now, I am a mom of three young kids, proud of how I am raising them and proud of the kids they are. I am enjoying them when they are good eaters, I am sappily admiring them when they are adorable and well behaved. I am not preparing yet for puberty. I am not preparing yet for Friday nights when all the kids are out with friends and I am hopeful they will be home by curfew. I am sure that time will come, but the last thing I am thinking about when my kids are giggling over my silly only-funny-to-four-year-olds joke is how this won’t be funny anymore when they are 10 or 15 or 23.
I understand that I am beyond lucky having three healthy kids. Don’t get me wrong, we have our moments, but for the most part, we are enjoying every milestone as it comes. I know that every child and every mother’s experience is different and unique. I appreciate you reaching out to me, trying to connect with me, reminiscing of a “simpler time” with your own kids. But please allow me to enjoy my kids for who they are right this minute and maybe at another time, you can share your own experiences of what came after this stage for you and your kids. But not right now.