I love having teenagers. They are funny and interesting, and I always have someone around who is up for late night binge watching.
So far two of them are taller than me, so they can reach stuff that I can’t. The girls let me borrow their shoes. I have people to help me with my errands, carry heavy boxes, fix a paper jam in the printer, and drive me home if I have a second glass of wine at dinner.
Not only that, they can all put on their own shoes, pour their own juice, and rarely does anyone wipe their face on my skirt or spit food into my hand.
It’s a good life
Still, even with all this fun, help, and independence, I sometimes miss having little ones around. I miss chubby little hands holding my face, sticky kisses, early morning cuddles, and little bodies that fit perfectly and contentedly between my lap and my chin.
Often I find myself longing for the simpler, sweeter, mommy-is-the-center-of-the-universe days when they were all little, when every second was magical and blissful and…then something happens that reminds me that maybe not every single second wasn’t magical bliss.
My children, precious as they were, did engage in a few annoying behaviors that I certainly don’t miss…
Just last week I complimented one of my girls on her hair. From out of nowhere (actually from out of 2009) her brother replied, “Too bad it’s Opposite Day!”
“Yeah! Well, if it’s Opposite Day, you’re the best brother in the whole world!”
Mercifully this exchange was short-lived, but when my kids were younger they could sustain Opposite Day banter for hours. HOURS!
Opposite Day was basically just an excuse for my children to hurl insulting comments at one another and to procrastinate. “Oh! You actually wanted me to pick up my toys? In that case you should have said, ‘Don’t pick up your toys’. “ It was exhausting.
And yet..last week when Opposite Day made its brief come back and I mentioned how glad I am that we no longer celebrate this particular holiday, my daughter seemed shocked. “What? I used to love Opposite Days. Don’t you remember? We would have spaghetti for breakfast and cereal for dinner? We would walk backwards and wear our clothes backwards. It was so much fun!”
She was right! Opposite Day wasn’t just an excuse to be rude and disobedient. It was about being silly, thinking outside the box, shaking up our routine. Why don’t we do opposite day anymore? Because they are too cool, and we are all too busy.
Okay, so maybe I do kind of miss Opposite Day.
THE FLOOR IS HOT LAVA!
It never failed. The floor always turned into hot lava when I was in a hurry. I would be racing around, a load of laundry in my arms, trying to tidy up, and just as I reached the living room, someone would yell, “Mommy, No! The floor is hot lava! You have to go on the furniture!”
And of course they never believed me when I said I was wearing lava-proof boots—because apparently that’s not a thing. Nope. Nothing would do but that I leap from chair to couch to chair to ottoman to reach the safely of the laundry room. So frustrating!
And yet..there was something magical about this too—this urgency with which my children pleaded for me not to walk through hot lava. Sure they didn’t want me to ruin their game, but it was more than that. So powerful were their young imaginations that on some level, they were also genuinely concerned for my safety. Adorable!
RELENTLESS STORY TELLING
So, was it just me? Or did any other parents want to cut off their own ears before their child got to the end of his story about what happened that day at recess. The thing is, my kids only got a 15 minute recess. I never understood how it could take 30 minutes to tell about something that happened in less than half that time.
But at least with recess stories, I kind of cared about the plot. Worse were the relentless recaps of movies and TV shows. By the time I found out whether or not they got all those animals back to the zoo, I could have traveled to Madagascar—by boat!
And yet…what would I give now to hear a detailed play-by-play of what went on at school or the party or the football game? Come to think of it, I would love to suffer through a few more
No seriously. I thought my youngest might actually be color blind. His funny childhood outfits went beyond dress up. When he was three and wore a dragon costume every day for two weeks, it was cute. Cowboy boots with shorts! Adorable. But by 4th grade, he had outgrown the costumes but still hadn’t quite gotten the hang of fashion.
He wore red shorts with bright green shirts or blue shorts with purple shirts. Or any color or monochrome combination he happened to grab from his dresser. I wasn’t so much embarrassed as I was worried that he would be.
And yet…he never was. He never second guessed his clothing selection, never worried if he looked okay. He got dressed effortlessly—blissfully unaware that he looked anything but just fine.
And while it’s not like any of my kids stress over their daily outfits now, that lack of self-consciousness can only really be achieved before the age of 11. I do miss the innocence of color blind kids.
HEY, MAMA! WATCH ME!
Hey, Mama! Watch me do a dive!
Hey, Mama! Watch me spin in a circle!
Hey, Mama! Watch me stand on my head!
Hey, Mama! Watch me stick this up my nose!”
So,yeah. That was pretty exhausting. It’s impossible to even complete a thought, let alone a chore, when you are a full-time audience member to a houseful of tiny performers. And really, how many ways are there to say. “Good job, Sweetie!”
And yet…Watching my child do his 40,000th dive of the day is way less exhausting than watching the clock. Waiting for curfew. Wondering where my child is. Praying he gets home safely.
“Hey, Mama! Watch this!” meant that I was right there with my children, and that was right where they wanted me to be. I definitely miss that.
So, what about you? What annoying childhood behaviors do you (mostly) not miss?