At a recent little league game, I watched one of the parents do laps around the field with a toddler in a stroller, attempting to score a nap. I sat back in my chair, sipped my coffee and thought, "Thank God I don’t have to do that anymore."
I remember walking in circles, peeking over the brim of the stroller, wondering, "Are those eyes fully closed or droopy? If I stop moving now, will he wake up? I can't tell, open or closed? Oh, God, he saw me."
It made me think of all the other things I happily don’t have to do anymore. Older children allow us to relax in a chair and drink beverages uninterrupted while they do things like play baseball and swim in the ocean by themselves. Plus, they can take cold medicine and make it to the bathroom when they have to vomit.
While I do long for some aspects of baby and toddlerhood, there are so many things I'm glad to be done with. I am omitting changing diapers/night feedings/potty training because those are obvious.
In no particular order:
- Pushing a stroller laden with groceries in the rain.
- Parking said stroller in a narrow entryway, where it becomes a coat rack.
- Pumping while doing any activity – especially while simultaneously feeding child and/or using toilet.
- Coming home from work to find that the babysitter left the freezer door open, destroying a three-month supply of breast milk. Crying while emptying milk down drain (still not over it).
- Going to a mommy-and-me gym class, especially one with clown puppets.
- Having a conversation while body blocking toddler from leaving the room.
- Having it be my turn to wake up on weekend mornings with the child who gets up at 4:47.
- Packing a diaper bag.
- Realizing I didn't pack the one thing I needed in said diaper bag.
- Watching Yo Gabba Gabba.
- Trying to keep sleepy child from napping in the car because he'll never transfer to crib.
- Sleep training.
- Sleep training six months later because it didn't take.
- Forcing angry toddler into car seat as he bends his body backwards a la Cirque du Soleil acrobat.
- Googling "toddler won't nap in crib."
- Spending entire naptime reading about why toddler won't nap in crib while toddler doesn't nap in crib.
- Sitting with sick child in steamy bathroom because he is too young for decongestant.
- Eau de Enfamil.
- Thinking Disney on Ice/Sesame Street Live/Yo Gabba Gabba Live will be fun. Discovering opposite.
- Getting in a pool with child who can't swim. Becoming trapped in pool with child who refuses to get out. Developing hypothermia.
- Paying for Sesame Place.
- Cutting grapes up into 16ths for preschool snack.
- Getting trapped under sleeping child with both phone and TV remote out of reach.
- Checking our status on a preschool waitlist.
- Riding the zoo train. Again. And again. And again.
- Taking a shower with a tub full of plastic ocean creatures and super heroes.
- Not being able to find a shirt without spit-up on it.
- The Leap Frog Learn and Groove Music Table. Bap-ba-doo-ba-dee-ba-doo-ba-dee-bop-bah!
- Hiding the books I got sick of reading (and I mean you, Little Engine That Could)
- Getting a call from preschool that your child is the one who hasn't stopped crying for three hours.
- Spending hours in our parked car so child can pretend to drive, knowing that any alternative indoor activity likely includes the Leap Frog Learn and Groove Music Table.
- Ball pits.
To my fellow parents of older children, please feel free to comment and add whatever I have missed. In the meantime, I'll just sit back and enjoy my coffee while the mom with the stroller makes her 17th lap around the field. I feel you, sister. I feel you.