I made the mistake of falling down the home movie rabbit hole the other night and spent several hours watching videos of my children from when they were toddlers. By the time I pulled myself away from the computer, my eyes were swollen red with the warm and fuzzy memories from when they were small.
Now, I look at these strange, pimply and sometimes smelly tweens and wonder if things were better when they were so small I could fit them in the crook of my arm.
Of course, toddlers are adorable. That’s just an undeniable fact. With their massive heads and unstable rambling about, anyone who doesn’t find these small creatures the cutest beings in the world must have the coldest of hearts.
But as I spend more time with my maturing children, I remind myself that my kids are like a good vintage wine. They keep getting better and better with time.
Their conversation skills are soaring.
Gone are the days when I would have to trick my children into having a conversation with me. I’d set about my task by asking them questions upon questions about their day, and they’d nonchalantly use one-word answers to my queries.
However, these days I can’t get them to shut up. Of course, usually, the conversations are about Minecraft or the playground gossip that circulates a grade 6 classroom, but I’m up for anything. My children are amazing conversationalists, and that’s something I wouldn’t trade for all the baby snuggles in the world.
They are hilarious.
My son Lars’ humour started budding a few years ago, and man alive, does that kid have a sharp wit. He comes up with these one-liners out of nowhere, and I wonder when and how he became so funny. Last year (pre-covid), his school put on a talent show in which he performed impromptu stand-up comedy. He had the audience in stitches. Belly laughing with your growing children is one of the greatest joys.
They are my own personal tech agents.
Whenever I have an issue with my electronic gadgets, 9 times out of 10, either my son or daughter will be able to fix it. They are a whiz at this stuff! They always have been, so maybe this point is moot because they were fixing my electronics long before tween-hood.
They are self-sufficient.
I look at my friends who still have toddlers and infants to care for and shudder a little inside, thinking back at the responsibility it was to keep a small human alive. It’s exhausting! Obviously, keeping my tweens alive is a priority these days, too, but it’s so much simpler.
They can get themselves snacks and easy to prepare food. They can find their own tv shows and take themselves for walks to the park or hunt for Pokemon on their Pokemon Go apps. I can give them a time to return by, and (usually) they are back at home on time!
Winter prep-wear isn’t nearly as time-consuming.
If you’ve ever had to wrangle a snowsuit on a toddler, you will understand what I mean here. It takes the strength of ten full-grown men to finally zip up the last zipper of your child’s star-shaped snowsuit for them only unabashedly to pronounce, “I pee now!”
Thank god that part of my life is over. My kids can put on their own snowsuits and know to use the washroom before bundling up.
It is fun to teach them things.
Okay, this one may make me sound like a terrible person, but it’s the truth. It is so much more fun teaching my children about my favourite comic books or how to write a kick-ass poem than it was teaching them their ABC’s. Yeah, we tried to make the ABCs more enjoyable by using silly nontraditional names for each letter like A for Ass (the donkey, calm down) and B is for Butthead (a classic 90’s cartoon character). Alas, that still doesn’t trump teaching your almost-teens about the wonder of The Hunger Games or how to whip throwing knife in your backyard at a plyboard bullseye.
My housework has decreased by leaps and bounds.
Although we’ve always made our children clean up after themselves, it’s only recently that I can take advantage of them in this department. No longer do I do the after-dinner dishes. That’s on them now.
I never am tidying their rooms because they have two legs and a heartbeat to clean their own darn rooms.
They pick up the dog doo in the backyard, and the only downside to that one is how much they complain about it in the hours afterwards, but as any good parent will tell you, we learned long ago to tune them out.
So, all in all, as much as I sometimes miss those adorable round little faces staring up at me, I am so thankful to be in this phase of parenthood—one where we can build respect and trust between us.
Of course, I’m not saying it will always be smooth sailing, what with the teen years right around the corner, but for now, I’m going to revel in the tween years and appreciate all the new moments that come.
Previously published on medium
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