This weekend we had the pleasure of being kid-free two nights in a row. One was planned, and the other was a spur of the moment thing. But the point I really want to make is how your kids get to a certain age where a kid-free night is wonderful but not the same as THOSE days when you would have considered leaving the baby in the house alone, in your desperation for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sorry for those of you still in the throes of this phase!
It was one of those moments when I was like “wow, these kids are BIG.” And while it was great not to have to get up and fix breakfast, put out sibling squabbles and have my ear chewed off by a very talkative 4 year old, I must admit that I missed them. The kids go to bed at 8pm and I don’t hear a peep out of them until I wake them up the next day. My mother called one Friday night and it was just after 8 and she was like “are the kids in bed already, it’s Friday?” In my house, the days of the week or the occasion make no difference, bed time is bed time. The only time we deviate is if we have visitors and for REALLY special occasions like the Soccer World Cup where I allowed them to stay up for the opening ceremony – which they found utterly boring. So my sleep is uninterrupted, I love my sleep and they’ve reached an age where they do to!
So my point is, having them spend the night away from me is not as exciting as it used to be! And strangely, I missed them not being around. Husband had things to take care of on Saturday morning so I was home alone, and I felt quite bleak without them. Is this the age where parents actually start to enjoy the company of their children? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy alone time as much as the next run down mother, but without me realising it, I think I’ve actually reached a stage of LIKING my children and WANTING to be around them. Now now, don’t judge. Parenting is not all about the fun loving stuff that people put on their IG pictures. Most of the time, those first few years are just plain HARD and tiring and annoying. You love your kid, you’d jump in front of a moving bus for your kid, you love each smile and giggle, but it’s hard work.. often very thankless. And I won’t lie and say I didn’t wish those sleepless nights and those horrible teething patches and those stinky diapers away, because I did! And even though I’d do it ten times over without hesitation if you asked me to go through it all again, I must say that this actual LIKE I have for my kids at this age is rather surprising and refreshing.
Needless to say when they got home, they hadn’t missed me AT ALL. My 100s of questions were answered with as little detail as possible and all they wanted to do was to be left alone to play secret games with each other and have as little to do with me as possible. The nerve. I forced everyone to have lunch around the table so we could TALK because we were not going to be there for dinner on Saturday night and after that, they scurried off to do their own thing again.
I must say this is all weird to me – this growing up business. And weirder still because I clearly remember a day crying in my kitchen with a crying toddler wrapped around my thigh and a crying baby on my hip , thinking WHEN WILL THIS BE OVER, LORD!!!! And now that we are here, it’s weird but all kinds of awesome too. I like my kids, they are cool. I want to spend time with them. I want to hear their opinions. I want them to laugh at my jokes. I want them to LIKE me as much as I LIKE them. I actually WANT to go on holiday with them! After Cape Town 2011 – a disaster family holiday, I didn’t think those words would ever come out of my mouth! I love being able to do my own thing while they are somewhere else in the house. I like them popping their little heads around the door to make sure I am OK and asking “are you googling on your iPad again, mama?”
This is the age of AWESOME for me. It truly is!