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growing up

What the Phrase ‘Enjoy This Time…It Goes So Fast’ Really Means

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“Enjoy this time…it goes so fast!!”

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ANYTHING SO RIDICULOUS IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE?

Sorry for screaming. But as someone who has been in the baby/toddler trenches for a few years now, I can tell you, no, that is just bullshit.

Actually, Random Person, it doesn’t go so fast. The days are long. VERY LONG. They are tiring to the point where my bones actually ache in the night when I finally get to lie down. Actually, Random Person, you don’t ever get used to starting a day at 4 a.m. And actually, these kids are fabulous, but you don’t ever learn to savor the smell of your children’s feces. At least, I haven’t.

I am on my second round of children, with my two kids from my first marriage now entering middle school (yikes). I now have one soon-to-be-kindergartener, two nursery schoolers, and one baby. I’m in it again. At least only 1/3 of the people in my house are in diapers, which is the best ratio I have had for a long time.

Here’s the thing: This whole “little kids thing” is no less exhausting or exasperating this second time around. If you think it is exhausting raising little kids when you are in your 30s, well, when you’re in your 40s, your body will remind you of that fact in little bitchy ways. Every. Single. Day. (But in my 30s, I was dealing with a lot of divorce and turmoil, so let’s call it even.)

This second time around, though, I have a clearer view of the light at the end of the tunnel. I have learned that personally, I am not such a fan of the newborn phase—you know, that part where they can’t distinguish night from day and they don’t smile yet. But by my sixth go-round, I could take a deep breath and remember that in three months (which feel much longer), It Gets Better. I cried like a broken sprinkler in the first few months after my kids were born…but I knew, not only logically but actually, that it would end.

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I know I’m in the trenches of physical mothering right now—that time when you have to change their diapers because they can’t walk, that time when you have to get them a napkin or salt shaker because they are too short to reach it themselves, that time when you dress them because they cannot figure out how to put arms into a shirt. There is a lot of lifting—whether it’s Kirkland wipes or children’s heavy bodies—and strollers and diaper bags. I’m woken by screams before the sun comes up. I have never felt less sexual in my life.

But it changes into something else, eventually. Soon, they wear underwear (thank God). Soon, they dress themselves (creatively) and the other day, I actually laughed till I cried at my soon-to-be kindergartener’s joke…because it was, surprisingly, truly funny. They do become independent people. And It Is Awesome.

But it doesn’t go so fast. And there is no way you, or any person out there, could possibly “enjoy every minute of it.” That’s not a dare—it’s a fact.

But take the pictures now. Because believe it or not, these little people do leave at some point. They leave without saying goodbye, and turn into large people whom you have to remind to use deodorant.

And I also know something now that I truly didn’t get the first time around: that when people say, “Enjoy it…it goes so fast,” it actually means, “I miss when I was younger.”


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