I came across a three-page print out the other day titled, “Beckett’s Daily Routine.”
This was from back in November of 2009 when Carson was born and we were going to be away in Pennsylvania for his adoption process for at least a week. It was left for the various family members and neighbors who were going to be helping us with kid coverage while we were gone. At that time, Beckett was 16 months old and a robust little one who was walking and running and into everything. It tore us apart emotionally to leave him for that long at that time and perhaps that explains the length of the instructions left for our beloved helpers.
I had to laugh looking back at it this week because it provided a snapshot of my mental state at that time. For instance, it specifically detailed how many table spoons of such and such he received, how to cut up his banana, how much juice to give him at a time, when and how to put him down for a nap and when and how to wake him if he sleep too long and what sort of books and television shows he prefers.
I felt ridiculous after reading it today and all the detail that I went into, particularly because everyone that stayed with Beckett during the time we were away for Carson’s birth had kids of their own and probably knew much more than we did about caring for a little one. The excessiveness was probably something to do with guilt and anxiety over being away from him at such a tender age while trying to grow our family.
Either way, it was odd to look back and read stuff I wrote like, “it’s okay if he cries a little bit at bedtime, but if you can see him starting to climb out of the crib, please go in and settle him.” I can only imagine how many eye rolls that one generated from our trusty helpers. Perhaps that’s why I found this report all crumpled up in a drawer.
As I flattened it out, feeling it should be saved for some reason, I started reflecting on this crazy parenting journey and how much we have changed as it has progressed.
It’s amazing to me the transformation that takes place in parents as their kids get older.
Parents of newborns are fragile in every way. Their emotions are raw and their sentiment swings are extreme. They are overwhelmed by their love for this newfound responsibility and still in awe of the miracle that is having a baby. Add to all that the fact that sleep and spare time as they have come to know it no longer exists and the result is often a confused, emotional wreck.
Although better rested, parents of toddlers are in a constant state of shock over the rapid changes in their little one that seem to occur daily. By now, the kid is independently eating and drinking and a new level of communication is occurring. Perhaps most importantly the kid is mobile and that means life really begins to change, including the need for a wholesale makeover of the house for safety’s sake.
The adjustments continue for parents of little ones past the toddler age and early school years. The challenges just come in different ways. Behavior becomes an issue. The child’s needs and wants are verbalized seemingly nonstop, and the demands increase as a result. Safety continues to be a top priority while also releasing some rope so they can be independent. With that though usually comes issues and concerns and that is the stage we are at with my boys currently.
Past the early school age is an unknown to me, but from what I can tell the challenges and surprises and trials and tribulations continue at every turn of parenting, and you never truly are ready for what lies ahead despite seemingly always in preparation mode.
With a two-day getaway planned for this week without the kids, it was difficult not to rehash these stages of life when it came time to mapping out our exit plan.
There was no typing out a detailed agenda for the kids this time around. There were no tears shed as there have been in the past. There were kisses and hugs, requests to be behave for Mom-Mom and promises to bring back souvenirs.
While gone, there will likely not be the incessant calls for updates as there once was in their younger days when we left the kids home. They will be in our thoughts, but not occupying our minds at all times. The obsession level will not be the same.
Instead, we went away excited for some time away with a cautious assurance the kids are in good hands and will be just fine without us.
We have developed this approach over time and have come to accept that five minutes after we return home everything will be just like it was before we left.
Carson will be scaling furniture and throwing toys at his brother, and Beckett will be in the refrigerator trying to find some chocolate to eat looking to sit or stand on his brother while he does so.
For us, it’s just a little getaway. For the boys, I often wonder if they even notice we are gone.