Forget gray hair, I’m going to have no hair by the time I get done raising my kids.
I remember being newly married and so excited to start my family. I wanted a baby right away. Thirteen months later I got my wish. As I held my sweet little son in my arms I fell instantly in love.
I couldn’t wait to change his diaper, watch him crawl, see him walk, hear him talk and grow in so many other ways.
WHOA! Wait a minute!! Grow?!?
He’s going to grow up. The realization hit me like a brick.
I knew I had signed on for a baby, but I forgot about the toddler part, the middle school part, the teenage part, and the part where, no matter how old he got I would always be his mom.
Not that it would have changed my decision had I thought about it beforehand, but it seemed a lot to take in at that moment.
While the thought of his growing up can be overwhelming, it’s also very relieving.
He won’t be 5 forever, I tell myself often.
I’ll be tearing my hair out over different things in a little while. At least that will be a change of pace eh?
I love being a mom, but it is possibly the most taxing thing I’ve ever done.
Pregnancy itself has aged my body a good 10 years or so. And then there’s hearing “Mom” a million times a day said in so many different ways.
“Mooooom!” screaming in terror
“Moo-oooom” Tattle telling on a sibling
“Mom?” asking a questiton
“Mom!!!” usually said this way after I’ve channeled out the previous four Moms
Then of course there’s the fighting over toys, cleaning the crayon off the walls and the fruit snacks ground into the carpet.
Why do I do this again?
Oh yes.
It’s because of the wet kisses I get when I fix a toy, little arms around my neck before they get tucked into bed, their unabashed excitement about getting an ice cream cone, melted ice cream all over their chins and cheeks, the giggling I hear when they watch a kids movie, their tears and big eyes that say I’m sorry when they’ve done something they shouldn’t have.
For me, becoming a parent taught me unconditional love.
When each of my children was born, I knew that no matter what they did in their lives, I would always love them fiercely.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be bald by the time my kids grow up, but it will have been a small price to pay for the love I’ve gotten to feel, and the things they’ve taught me.
A few months back I dropped my 5 year old son and 3 year old son off at a friends house while I went to see the doctor.
After I returned I asked the usual, “How were they?”
My friend told me they were great and then asked me if they always got so involved in imaginary play.
I asked her exactly what she meant and she told the following story:
Ethan and Caleb were playing in a little kids tent that this family owns.Caleb  (3), used some imaginary keys to unlock some imaginary windows and doors on the tent. Then he went inside.
Ethan (5) then reached in at Caleb and “grabbed” the imaginary keys from him, and proceeded to lock all the imaginary windows and doors.
Caleb began freaking out. He was yelling for the keys and sobbing in a matter of seconds because he couldn’t get out.
My friend told Ethan he ought to give the keys back to Caleb. Ethan cooperated and Caleb unlocked the many windows and doors and then let himself out, after which he finally calmed down.
I listened in awe, not sure if I should laugh or be concerned. Never had I ever seen my boys put on a display of that magnitude. Sure, they use their imaginations in play but they had only ever offered me an imaginary bite to eat every now and then.
Now I deal with fights over imaginary objects on a regular basis.
For weeks now it’s been the Piston Cup, from Disney Pixar Cars.
They’ll have a foot race, one will win, and then hold out his hand diplaying this grand Piston Cup.
Then the other will steal it. And they go back and forth stealing an imaginary Piston Cup from each other and crying.
I’ve tried reason – “It’s just fake, imagine your own Piston cup!”
I’ve tried pleading with the more mature child – “Ethan, you are 5 years old, you understand this Piston Cup thing is fake, but your brother doesn’t. Now stop stealing it from him!!”
I’ve tried joining the tangle – “The Piston cup is mine!!! There, now stop fighting over it!”
What in the world do you do when your children are quarreling over something intangible? Have you dealt with this from your kids? How did you solve it, or have you yet?