Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cherishing Each Moment.

I've written before about the terribleness of the advice frequently given mothers to "enjoy every moment, it goes by SO fast!"

As I wrote for "Circle of Moms":
Please feel free to ignore the following parenting rule: 'Enjoy every moment! It goes so by quickly!' Because I can almost GUARANTEE you that there will be days with your children you do not enjoy. 
All-family stomach virus day? Not enjoyable. My kids coated the brand new couch we saved for over a year for in Sharpie day? I give you permission to go ahead and despise this day. My child learns to scream the word "NO" at top volume? Go ahead and take a week off from enjoying parenthood when this happens. 
If you take the pressure off yourself to delight in every single instant of your childrens' existences you'll be a better parent and a saner human. And there will be plenty of moments to enjoy, don't worry. Just not 'My kids have learned how to open the refrigerator and have now hidden broken eggs all over the house' day. That day's gonna be really, really bad. Be warned. 
And I still feel that this advice is downright sound. Truly, I can think of few things more absurd than telling a human being to enjoy every moment of being a parent. 

There are just so many absolutely terrible moments when one is raising children that trying to rejoice in the wonderfulness of each day as a Mom or Dad is pretty much to guarantee that you will be left with an enduring feeling of misery and deep sense of personal failure.


Now that I now have three children I will admit that I'm starting to appreciate how quickly it really does go. 

I'm so busy that the days tend to bleed together, which results in me occasionally going to pick up one of the kids and thinking, 

"Wait, how is it possible that you weigh this much? Aren't you, like, 9-months-old?"

And it turns out that, no, he's like, totally almost four and going to school a couple of days a week. Or he is 2-and-a-bit and running around like a maniac while talking up a storm.


And forget getting in any snuggle time with those two great big boys as they tear around. They shriek and twist away from my every attempt at cuddling. I've been reduced to devious methodology to get even the tiniest bit of sugar off of these two: I've invented a game called, "My Tiny Little Baby."

The game is simple. I cradle one of them at a time in my arms like an infant and sing,

Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock.
When the bow breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby...

At which point I look down and act surprised and appalled to discover that instead of a tiny little baby I have an oversized toddler in my arms. Furious to have been tricked in such a way, I then throw them across the room screaming, "You're not a baby! Get out of here!" as they cackle.

The boys love it (as they love anything that involves a lot of silliness, shouting, and tossing) and I get to indulge in holding my big guys again for a few moments like the babies they used to be.

And I have to tell you - I cherish it.

My baby girl is still little enough to hold and cuddle as I see fit, but even that is changing fast. She's almost six-months-old, she's already close to sitting up, and she's started doing that thing where she sometimes punches me in the face when she gets bored with my hugs and kisses.

She's sleeping through the night quite reliably, but every once in a while she'll still wake up at 3am.

My husband gets up from bed bleary-eyed and goes to collect her from her crib before she wakes up the boys. He brings her to me to nurse and then goes to crash for the rest of the night on the sofa. 

We both grumble,

"Ugh, hopefully it's just tonight."

I think about how tired I'll be the next day as I try to keep up with the demands of three kids on four hours' sleep, and I accept the fact that it is really going to be rough going.

But as I lie in the dark with my legitimately tiny little baby, I do actually make an effort to enjoy the moment. 

Because I know it all goes by so fast.