Our family has arrived at a delicate, finite, oasis-type period which lies quietly in wait between the physical nightmare of small children and the emotional nightmare of teenaged children.
Nobody is in diapers, nobody needs a nap, nobody demands peeled hot dogs or melts down into a puddle on the floor if we don’t find the pacifier with the blue stripe. Right. This. Second.
We sleep through the night, almost always.
No one is texting incessantly, no one is “pulling an attitude” as my mother used to say when referring to the rolled eyeballs she desperately wanted to slap out of my head, and no one is changing outfits 14 times before school.
We have not yet been accused of embarrassing our children, instructed to stay in the car while chauffeuring them to activities, or blamed for “ruining my life!”
Our children, ages 9, 6, and 4, are not only reasonably independent, but also still interested in spending time with us. I love this stage. And this calm-ish sanctuary is going to last about four seconds, so I want to make the most of it.
They like to ride bikes and go on “tiyulim.” (I have learned, after living in Israel for 10 years, that a “tiyul” is a very loose term for any outing which includes both nature and a picnic. My kids will go pretty much anywhere or walk pretty much any distance if there are cookies at the end. To be fair, so will I.)
The younger two still speak like muppets and the trials of bilingualism just make their grammatical mistakes cuter. They still like zerberts, tickle-fests, and “pajama parties” which consist of throwing all of the blankets and pillows in the house onto the living room floor, donning pajamas, and eating popcorn.
We watch family movies that everybody agrees on. They get excited about attending distant cousins’ weddings and visiting Great Grandma. The zoo, as often as we go, is still The Best Place on Earth. Any clothing I procure is fine, as long as it’s colorful enough for my oldest and comfortable enough for my younger two. Pictures of Spiderman, Batman, or fairies (respectively) are a bonus, but not required.
I’ve adapted to their preferences and consciously cater to their inclinations (what adult actually wants to go to the zoo?) as much as I can, since I know that any minute, the requests (and the attitudes) are going to get out of hand. I still insist on (and receive) pleases and thank-you’s. They mostly put their dishes in the sink after a meal.
The end is drawing near. We are at the dawn of tween-hood and just this morning, the expression my daughter contorted her face into upon the request that she get dressed warned me that The Golden Age is limited.
Guess where we’re headed this afternoon? Hopefully, the monkeys, penguins, and elephants will assist me in eking out one more year of The Golden Age.