Yesterday, I took my youngest (newly five year old) child to the pediatrician for her annual well check up. She turned five a couple of weeks ago and I just can't seem to get used to this new age. Five seems so much older than four. Five seems so far away from baby and toddler. Five just isn't sitting well with me. I look at her and she is so tiny and petite. She is the youngest with two big brothers. She can't possibly be five...but she is and she will definitely correct you if you accidentally say four.
I feel like with our youngest turning five we have entered a different stage of parenting. We are no longer parents of infants, toddlers, or preschoolers. As I sat in the pediatricians office, I began to get a bit misty-eyed. There are so many things that I miss about having a baby but there are so many great things with this new stage, as well.
Here are a few of things that have changed over the years.
1. It has been a couple of years since we had to use a stroller. My heart actually hurt when we got rid of our Graco Quattro-Tour. Oh, it was the cadillac of strollers about 11 years ago. :) I made my husband get rid of it while I wasn't looking. It just hurt my heart - I loved that stroller and it carried all three of my babies.
2. My mom and I recently took the kids to San Antonio for a day trip and I did not pack any extra clothes. That was a weird feeling. I always pack clothes - you never know who may spill, get sick, etc. This is what I considering walking on the wild side. :)
3. When we load up to go somewhere, the boys open the car doors and everyone is able to buckle their own seat belt. I thought this day would never come. This whole idea is also a very strange feeling. Just the other month, I accidentally leaned over and buckled my ten year old into his seat. You should have seen the look on his face. I can't help it, when you have been buckling for 10 years the urge does not go away overnight.
4. Everyone sleeps through the night - E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E - enough said, Amen!
5. For the most part, the morning routine is smooth. Physically, I do not have to get anyone dressed, however, the reminders to get dressed are frequent. I can even put on my make-up and do my hair while they are getting themselves ready. Another point I thought would never happen.
6. If in a pinch, they could serve themselves cereal, make a sandwich, etc. It still makes me a nervous wreck when someone pulls a full gallon of milk out of the fridge. I still step in with that one. I have visions of milk flying across the kitchen and living in places I will never find.
7. The boys have stopped ordering from the kids menu. Okay, this is a bit of a complaint. The total for four adult meals plus one child meal is a much larger amount than what we are used to. The days of feeding five for under $25 are over.
8. Everyone is big enough to pitch in and help (with pretty much everything) - this is huge! I remember when our kids were 5, 2, and under 1 everything was a struggle. Once during a soccer game, things were not going well and my then five year old was quickly melting down. I knew the only thing we could do was just leave and go home. However, I was by myself with a five year old throwing a huge fit, a two year old not understanding what was going on, and an under one in the stroller. I strapped all our folding chairs around my body along with the camera bag and threw the cooler under the stroller (that would be our trusty Gracco Quatro Tour). I picked up the two year old and carried him on my hip, while dragging the five year old and trying to push the stroller with the same hand. We were no where near the car and I am pretty sure everyone was watching. I held my head up high (I think all of us were crying) and marched to the car. These days, everyone carries their own stuff and no one is on my hip! PROGRESS!
9. We only have one set of training wheels left to remove and I think it is right around the corner. :)
10. Both boys take their own showers. Our five year old still needs help with her hair but for the most part she does everything else on her own. This is amazing. I typically send the boys upstairs for showers while I cleanup the kitchen and living room. I can remember when bath time and bedtime would drag on for well over an hour.
I really miss having a baby but this stage is wonderful in so many ways. I know it won't last long, the ten year old gets older by the day. I am really not looking forward to the teenage years and unfortunately those years will be here quickly.
I wish I had slowed down when my kids were younger. Everyone tells you to enjoy each phase and season because it will pass quickly. Funny how you don't really understand what they mean until so many precious seasons are over.
*Mom, you were right. They will all go to college potty trained - I really didn't believe you!