younger vs older kids, and life right now

February 3, 2015

Josh and I were both off this past weekend — the first since mid-December.  It was long-awaited and much-needed.  We spent some time together, but also took turns with A&C for part of the time.  Both days, I let Josh sleep in but then headed out to barre (Saturday) or run (Sunday).

There was swim class, lunch with friends, and even a black-tie gala.

A w/ multiple flotation devices
(her class is kind of chaotic but I think she’s learning)
C in class with Josh
Rent the Runway came through for me again — note the wet hair and look of relief
(this was sent at the 11th hour as my initial dress pick was a total fail on!)
with my actual date 🙂
It was a lot of fun, but it was also somewhat exhausting.  Our kids are just at really tough ages right now — for different reasons.  Annabel is — well, I don’t want to say terrible 2s/3s/whatever, but she is really really challenging.  I try all of the tricks like offering choices, trying to be firm, time-outs when needed — but find myself floundering a lot, and getting truly exasperated, which didn’t used to happen.  It doesn’t help that she is so verbal that I often expect her to behave like an older child, and I have to remember and accept that she is not yet 3 (will turn 3 in April).
Her favorite expression right now is “Yeah, but [fill in the blank with some opposing statement or something totally random]” and it is driving me crazy.  
ME: Annabel, it’s time to get ready for swim class!
A: Yeah, but I don’t want to go.
ME: Annabel, let’s do a bath with Cameron!
A: Yeah, but I’m playing with my Elsa doll right now, so . . . 
(she will say this and trail off after the “so”, like “duh mom, THAT’S not going to work for me.” 
It’s like she has discovered that she can acknowledge what I want her to do but simply choose not to do it.
She might be going through a thing.
She is creative, happy, so sweet to Cameron.  Her laughter is infectious and beautiful.  She also definitely has a stubborn streak and likes to do her own thing.  

And I’m finding it a challenge.
Meanwhile, C is much less willful, unless you are trying to change his diaper or his clothing.  He’s in that stage of being one moment away from an injury that you have to prevent at all times.  Also — not to gender stereotype, but he is far more reckless than A ever was at his age.  (I think the early androgen exposure on little baby boys’ brains probably does do something!).
On Sunday, we went out to lunch with one of Josh’s friends from high school and his wife and 2 kids — a completely adorable and happy family.  Their daughter is 8, and their son 4.5.  I watched, definitely envious, as they calmly ate their meal together and the kids joined in the conversation.  In A&C’s defense, they were pretty well-behaved too — both ate, and neither tried to run away or had any epic spills.  But still — even in the best of circumstances, it’s so much more labor-intensive and distracting to dine with an 11-month and 2 3/4 year old.
I asked the mother of the older kids (also a pediatric specialist, by the way, so I was probably projecting a little) whether she missed the baby days.  She admitted that she missed the pure sweetness and snuggles sometimes, but for the most part she enjoys her children much more now that they are older.  It helped me so much to hear that for some reason.  Sometimes I feel like a bad person because I find these days to be a struggle.  I LOVE both kids and cannot imagine life without them.  I have zero regrets, and watching them grow up is amazing and rewarding.  HOWEVER, I am just going to come out and say that I don’t love the current stage we are in.   It is all-consuming and between the two of them just feels physically and emotionally exhausting to me.  Life is punctuated by the sweetest of moments, but I find it incredibly tough from day to day.  
I am greatly looking forward to A&C growing up into slightly older kids so that things are a little different.  Not necessarily easier, but different and perhaps more my scene.
I have a feeling that I am not the only mother of younger kids to ever feel this way, but I haven’t heard a lot of people come out and say it (or write it).  
If you have older kids, do you look back and miss the early days?  Or are you glad that you have moved past diapers & naps?  Can anyone else relate?  

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