From the very first moments of his life, we have been blindly bumping along in our parenting, feeling out the territory and making choices based on our "vast" experience and background as Mom and Dad. And just when it appears that maybe we've figured something out, we discover that either our plan doesn't actually work, or the kid gets a bit older and the new parenting skill is obsolete.
Then we store away that experience with the hopes that it will help with the next kid (because who wants to re-invent the wheel?) and take the next parenting step with our ever-growing boy. With new Mommy-skills to adapt and a steep learning curve to overcome.
Fortunately with each kid, many of our tested and true tools of parenting could be used again. With each kid we have been able to look back and see what worked and what didn't (a lot of what didn't, really!) and put in to practice our plan while making sure to tweak it a bit according the personalities and temperament of each kid.
That means ...
We've wowed our way through the Wonderful Ones ~ marveling at how in just 12 mere months a helpless, mewing newborn is transformed into an on-the-move toddler exploring their world every minute of the day. One mouthful at a time.
We've trudged through the Terrible Twos ~ which weren't really terrible. The truth is that those little people are just trying to learn the ropes of this life ... and then testing us to see if we'll catch them!
We've thumped our way the Thoughtful Threes ~ where the toddlers are figuring out their little world and they hunger to learn more through the endless and mind-numbing repetition of the question, "Why?"
We've fought for our authority through the Feisty Fours ~ when our little people think they have the world figured out and start asserting their independence. That looks a lot like tantrums and fits ... but really they just want to know who the boss is. (That's you, by the way!)
We've firmed up our family foundation in the Fascinated Fives ~ giving our kids a safe place to come back to as they begin journeying out into the "real" world of Kindergarten and Organized Sports. They want to experience everything ... and we want to be there to experience it with them.
We've sashayed our way through the Sassy Sixes ~ little people wanting to be bigger than they truly are. And being stinkers sometimes! With lots of love and lots of limits, we seen our kids move through this year smoothly.
We've been in stitches with our Silly Sevens ~ goofy kids developing their personalities, their interests and their senses of humor. As long as we don't take their drama too seriously, we have all enjoyed this season of silliness!
We've earnestly prayed for our kids through the Eager Eights ~ eager to be big, eager to be independent, eager to be successful in all they do. Unfortunately, they are still little, they still belong to us and they still make mistakes ... hence the prayer.
Now, we are navigating new waters with our Narcissistic Nines ~ and I'll be honest ... it's been a little rough. On a daily basis we are having to remind our boy again and again that the world does not indeed revolve around him and on a daily basis, he seems surprised. And a tad bit disappointed.
- Mommy doesn't want to play three levels of StarWars III for Mother's Day.
- If you're really hungry for breakfast, you still have to wait for us all to sit together and pray ... just like every other day of your life.
- It's a good idea to wait your turn to speak, even if your question/concern is super-duper important ... like if you can check "Tap Zoo". That means not talking Mom while she's on the phone. Or when she's on the potty.
- If the mail doesn't contain anything for you (i.e. the newest Lego catalogue), it still needs to be brought in and not left in the lawn.
- If you like to have help when you need it, chances are it would be appreciated if you would jump in and help when someone else needs it. That would be your sister asking for help. She's right behind you. She crying, "Help, please."
- If Mom is talking to you, she means for you to actually listen and then respond ... even if her information isn't in the form of a video game or TV commercial.
- It's entirely possible that you are the only one in the van who wants to hear "Jesus Freak" for the 5th time in a row. I'm just throwing that out as a possibility. :)
Truthfully, Brett and I are still getting a kick out of our kid, sometimes at his expense ("Really? Didn't you just ask to play video games 3.2 seconds ago? C'mon, Aaron-Boy, use your noggin!") and sometimes because he knows he's being silly ("Wouldn't it be easier to make your bed if you put the book down first? Just asking?").
Each age has its own challenges and triumphs; its own bumps and smooth spots; it's own highs and lows. And I'm sure we'll sail through this age, too, and end up with a few more tools in our toolbox for when the girls reach their Narcissistic Nines. By then ... Aaron will be on to his Egad Elevens!