I've said before and I maintain that I am not a baby person. Toddlers have always been my jam, so funny, so crazy, but so much work!! However, once they get past that stage and are school age, it's been pretty amazing. I've really been reveling in these elementary school years with my oldest four kids. I have no idea what parenting a teenager is going to look like, and I'm no expert at this mothering gig (that's why God keeps giving me more, hoping I can finally get it together) but here's the lowdown on how the golden elementary school years have been going...
There's just so much of it!
~ They are independent (enough) kids. They can get dressed, eat without help, take a shower, control their bodily fluids, take initiative and responsibility for their own to-do lists re: homework, sports, projects.
~ They have lives outside of ours. As much as a child will always need their parents, it's so refreshing to see them blossom on their own.
~ They are interesting and able to make great conversation. They can verbalize their needs and dream about the future and let you know what they're thinking.
~ They are helpful. They still want to please us and can actually do a lot of things we used to have to do ourselves. The older they get, the more moaning/groaning we get but overall they're pretty great.
~ They thrive on praise and affection. When I tell them how appreciative I am of them, they just eat it up. And then they want to help even more. It's so sweet!
~ They are not as demanding. They understand their needs don't have to be met right this very second, and can be reasoned with.
~ They still have so much love and innocence in their hearts. They are naive in the best ways possible yet worldly enough to get by in the real world. So they are praying the family rosary, but also watching the newest PG movie we have approved.
~ They are not old enough to drive, but their need to be driven around has increased. Mom and Dad feel like chauffeurs a lot.
~ Likewise, they are not old enough to stay home alone or babysit the younger ones, but are old enough to want to be part of all.the.things. So it's a lot of packing everyone up in the car to drop off one kid at practice.
~ They become more opinionated and "of the world" so to speak. They often compare what other families do versus what we do, and will tell me why that is unfair.
And I think that's it?!? What am I forgetting? These years have been relatively easy to navigate and I'm so thankful for that after having a bunch of babies and toddlers at home for the first few years. I know there is so much parenting ahead of us, and we look forward to see what it brings (mostly!). This vocation is wonderfully thrilling, humbling, funny, heartbreaking, and fulfilling. I always hoped and dreamed for a big family, and even on the hardest days, I remind myself that I am living the dream :)