My youngest daughter Olivia turns six today. I think with every parent each birthday is a bitter sweet experience. While it is great to see your child age and slowly transform into a more independent person, you can’t help but wonder where the time went. You can’t help but wish for the days where they were smaller and more dependent on you. In the months leading up to my first born arriving I remember Chris, a good friend of mine who had kids each about a decade older, say that babies were kind of boring. They didn’t do much and it was when they started to age and get their own personalities that being a Father really became enjoyable.
To be honest he was kind of right. I remember those days when my wife would hold my daughter for seemingly hours on end and then ask if I wanted to hold her. I would, she would leave the room and five minutes later the baby would be on the blanket on the floor or in her bassinet. My wife would be perplexed on why I wasn’t still holding her. Mothers can hold babies for hours on end but honestly after about 5 minutes of soaking in the cuteness there really wasn’t more to do with them.
Watching the girls get older, talk and develop personalities is when parenting really got fun and of course more challenging. Homer Simpson was right, “The sooner kids talk, the sooner they talk back.” But you take the good with the bad because they also say hilarious things and you can have more fun with them. Having three children also gives you the advantage of experiencing one child grow up but still experiencing the dependence from the other children. Julia grew but I still had Mia as the baby. When Mia grew out of being the baby Olivia was there to take her place. Maybe I didn’t miss it as much with Julia because there was Mia giving me those experiences, and the same goes with Mia as Olivia gave me those experiences.
Obviously the baby experiences have been long gone. I do miss a lot of the aspects of it but overall the baby phase is probably the most boring. I also experienced way more feces clean up than I ever thought I would. Sure I was fore warned I would have to change my baby’s diapers but the warning always made it seem like a quaint experience. They don’t tell you about how you have to put your baby (or toddler) in the tub and hose them off like they were Tommy Callahan Jr.
Add that to the fact I had a dog and cleaning up other peoples (and animals) poop became a big part of my life.
Now to get back on point, my daughter turning six means she moved from the play age to the primary school age. Next year she will be in first grade. She will no longer need me to spell every word and need me to do her reading for her. The tooth fairy has already made his first visit. She is losing pronouncing words wrong or struggling with pronunciation of letters. She is moving further and further away from total dependence.
What this all means is that unlike Julia and Mia, I don’t have anyone after Olivia to get these experiences from. No more little girls going to school for the first time. No more little girls who will be playing soccer for the first time. No more little girls who need their Daddy and Mommy to do everything for them. It’s getting a lot closer to no more little girls, soon it will be little woman and then just woman. As great as experiencing this is, it is also very bitter sweet. On the plus side I do clean up a lot less sh#t.