They say the darndest things, don’t they? If you go out in public with 3 girls, I betcha at least one person will say something along the lines of, “I sure wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when they’re teenagers!” From the time you’re expecting your first baby, the people around you fill up a giant bucket of fear that somehow the simple act of growing up is going to turn your child into a monster.
“You think a newborn is hard? Wait till the terrible twos!”
“Terrible twos? That’s a piece of cake compared to terrible TWEENS!”
And the ever present, “When those girls are teenagers – oh man are you going to be in trouble!”
Yeeaah. When Artist was a newborn, I was a mess with knowing she was going to grow up fast. A big part of that, honestly, had nothing to do with comments from others. I LOOVED the newborn stage. I mean it was sometimes hellishly hard. I had no idea at the time what a high-need baby she was. At nine months I still averaged three to four hours of sleep a night….and not consecutive. But oh to snuggle my precious baby girl and kiss her fuzzy head…nothing could be better. 😀
And then a crazy thing happened. At two months old, she started giggling! It was the most adorable thing, and I thought, “Okay this is perfection, if only she could stay at this stage forever.” Then there was her first word, “Mama!” To hear my baby call me by name – heaven on earth!
Soon she started walking, and talking, and dancing! She astounded us with her cleverness and melted out hearts with her hugs! We thought, she’s so perfect…should we even have another, because how could another baby be as wonderful as she is? And then we did. And of course Boo proved to us that another baby can be just as perfect in a completely different way (and that some babies can sleep through the night at a few months old). 😉
And we got to see Artist become a big sister, and that was beautiful, too! And I thought, if I could just save this, right now…a toddler and a newborn, this is perfection, nothing could beat this!
But time flies and babies grow up. Artist began developing talents and passions. She started making art, and listening to stories, and using her imagination, and playing with her sister…and it was wonderful! (I’m not saying parenting littles isn’t incredibly hard, I’m just saying it’s also wonderful!)
And yes, we went through a bit of a rough patch when she was first diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder and began having five therapy sessions a week. But soon after that, she learned to read…and she loved it, and that was awesome! (She also finally started falling asleep on her own, so that was great, too.)
She decided she wanted to be a fashion designer and a rock star! She put on concerts for us and began spending hours at a time with her sketch book, drawing elaborate outfits. She became a protective sister, making sure Boo didn’t head toward the street or talk to strangers or pick up spiders.
Smiles was born and Artist became my helper, bringing me water and baby blankets and even making me coffee! So, score – obviously! She learned to sew. She became a science whiz. She became interested in baking and able to lead Boo through making cookies together all by themselves!
She started reading books I love, and now we can talk about all our favorite parts! She started specifically wanting to hang out with me just to chat. She learned to play strategy games that are actually fun for me…and beat me at them. She got permission to sometimes get up after Boo is asleep and watch cheesy Disney channel shows with me, and eat fudge. 🙂
At some point she started really talking to me about God. At night I sneak some time with just her (and some time with just Boo), doing individual devotions with each of them. Artist prays with me about the things that are on her heart. She tells me her greatest fears. We memorize verses together. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Just over a week ago, she told me she wanted to be baptized! Yesterday I got to watch my amazing girl stand up in front of our entire church and share how she’d felt God urging her to be baptized and that following God is important to her, so she chose to take that step of faith!
I watched her sign her name on the baptismal (a tradition at our church), and step into the water, and get baptized. I got to see her eyes sparkling with excitement at having taken that step. Friends and family gathered to cheer her on, and we all celebrated the milestone.
Yes, I’m absolutely trying to cherish the moments. I realize now more than ever how fast babies grow up, and I hope to be even better than before about savoring each day. But not with a sense of, I’d better enjoy it now because I’ll wish I could go back to these days later when I can’t stand to be around my girls and they’re horrible people who make my life miserable because they hate me.
These days, I’d rather go somewhere with Artist than by myself. In fact, I was just thinking that I really wish instead of flying to NYC by myself I was taking Artist with me. She’s a joy to be around.
I’m not saying she’s perfect and never has mood swings or always wants to clean her room or anything like that…she’s human. So am I.
I just wish I’d known eight years ago what a wonderful journey watching my babies grow up would be. And I wish people would stop saying negative things about it. They don’t know my girls. I’m pretty sure most of them have no experience with a family of girls, they’re simple making assumptions – probably significantly based on mean girls on TV shows. And from now on, when I meet families with girls, I hope to grin and say, “Just wait till they grow up…they’re such a joy!”