I’m beginning to understand that kids don’t get easier as they get older, they just get hard in different ways. It’s a constant case of “the grass is always greener.” I remember when The Who was an infant and sleeping for shit and I thought — when he gets older and starts sleeping better, life will be so much more pleasant. And then, despite the times when I was certain it would never actually happen, he did get older and he did start sleeping better. In fact now, finally, at almost three, he predictably sleeps 11 hours through the night (although he’s been waking me up lately to cover him up. Ugh. Winter.) And as long as I go to sleep at a decent time at night, I am pretty well-rested most days. But I can’t say that life is much more pleasant now that we’re all sleeping better. Because now, during his waking hours, he’s a demanding, independence-seeking, routine-obsessed little pill. (A sweet pill, but a pill nonetheless.)
Then, I remember when he was a baby, insisting on being “walked” everywhere (holding his hands so he could practice walking) I thought — when he gets older and can walk on his own, life will be so much easier. And in fact when he did begin walking, and then finally was such a good walker that he could hold my hand and walk next to me, things did get easier. I no longer had to bring the stroller with us everywhere and our load was significantly lightened. But I can’t say that life is much more pleasant now that he’s walking. Because I have somehow failed to impart a healthy sense of fear of parking lots and street-crossings and the mindlessness I was afforded on neighborhood walks when he was safely buckled into a stroller is gone, replaced instead by vigilance, nervousness, and angst as I try to give him the freedom to tool around the town’s sidewalks on his own without getting dead.
I also remember when he was a non-talker (hard to remember when he was ever a non-talker), thinking — when he gets older and can talk and tell me what he wants instead of just grunting and whining and crying, life will be so much easier. And I was actually blessed with an early talker. A kid who was so articulate at such an early age that we really avoided most of the typical throw-yourself-on-the-floor-in-frustration tantrums (well, his anyway; I still had a few) and he was and is remarkably able to tell me what he wants and what he’s thinking. But I can’t say that life is so much more pleasant now that he’s talking. He’s very sure of what he wants and very able to tell me all about it, which he does all day, every minute. He also has a headful of questions, which is inarguably awesome, but so so so maddening. I want cocoa and Fireman Sam and count the numbers on the microwave and I want to wear jammies and play firefighter with me and I want grilled cheese and why did that truck turn on that street and why why why does the sun have those rungs on it and why is Simon meowing and I don’t want to go to bed now and I want five more minutes and your angry voice was scary to me and you get the picture, right? There’s an awful lot of talking around here.
So, yeah. I keep thinking that as he gets older and learns more things, life will get easier and more pleasant, but it’s becoming abundantly clear to me that I am pretty much out of my mind on this one. It just gets hard in different ways.