Friday, May 21, 2010



This past weekend, TW and I left the kids with her parents, got on a plane, and went out of town for a couple of days. I hadn't realized how much we needed to do that until we did it.

We love our kids dearly, but sometimes it's healthy to slip out of 'parent' mode. And with the end-of-semester insanity on campus in full swing, the change of scene did some good. We even managed to keep the calls home to a reasonable minimum.

Benefits of leaving the kids at home:

-- We went to restaurants that don't even serve chicken tenders.

-- Nobody had to be carried when we walked any kind of distance.

-- We got reacquainted with our frontal lobes. We went to a huge art museum, and actually got to look at the art! We didn't have to take anyone to the bathroom three times in an hour, and we didn't have to content ourselves with crayon-based activities. We didn't even have to corral anyone from running through the gallery, or listen to variations on "I'm bored!"

-- Two plane tickets, rather than four. It adds up.

We love our kids. We really do. They're wonderful, bright, warmhearted, sweet, smart, and charming. But yumpin' yiminy, sometimes you just need a break.

The break didn't last long; at the baggage carousel in the airport when we got back, we got the call that TG had thrown up. We returned to a sick kid, flashing digital clocks from a power outage the day before, and a clogged toilet. Since then, t-ball, doctor's visits, more sickness, and graduation.

It's all fine. But reconnecting with our adult selves was huge.

It gets easier, right?

Some things get easier. We can go to restaurants where they don't serve chicken tenders. No one has to get carried. Museums are good, though their patience is still less than ours at times. Four plane tickets, though. Or the train. Or the minivan.

But the hard part. Girlfriends, boyfriends. The angst of teenagehood. Physically, life with kids is easier as they get older. Psychologically, much harder.
Depends. My very high needs young boy is now a very mellow, sometimes independent teenager. I am terrified that he'll be getting his driver's permit soon. I am more terrified that he's now interested in girls (and lucky that not too many seem interested in him yet). Can I let you know when he finishes high school?

By contrast, my little one starts elementary school next year. While he needs constant attention (Mr. Social Butterfly), it's sometimes nice because the older one isn't all that interested in hanging with 'old people' anymore. You actually do miss it...sometimes.
It gets easier. I feel like every year my kids get bigger it gets easier.

Never ceases to amaze me how people always want to emphasize that every stage of child rearing is so hard. They forget how hard it is to manage with kids under the age of 7. Nothing is harder than that first year.

You are about to transition into what I think of as the golden time of childhood - both kids over 7 or 8 and less than 14. During that window they can do stuff with you, want to spend time with you and don't have the angst of later years. Take advantage!
It can get easier in some ways. I spend a lot more time ferrying eldest to her various activities now that she's in high school but still too young to drive. And having a special needs offspring and aging, inform parents means we can't leave the kids for a few days, ever, anymore.

So enjoy it while you can, look forward to their expanding palates and interests as they mature and know that somehow you'll get through everything. Even the sick kids and clogged toilets!
Yes it gets better! I challenge anyone who complains about teenagers. They are great. Sure, there are glitches, but they are turning into such interesting people. You can talk about all kinds of things and they cook, shower, and get themselves to school. Love it!
And 16 and 19 are great! Prom this weekend (yes, even here in Bangladesh), research plans and trips of their own. a joy.
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