I have spent the better part of the past four years sharing stories of my children. Jackson, our oldest, has been the topic of many columns. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, his five years on this planet have been a great learning experience for both of us.
As Jackson continues to grow and thrive, our youngest Madelyn is quickly trying to keep up. Madelyn, our second and last child, is now teaching me a whole new set of lessons.
She is everything her brother is not and a constant reminder that parenting is not a cookie cutter skill. As each child is different, so too must be your parenting style. Oh, sure, the fundamentals and moral lessons are still the same — how they are taught, however, is completely different.
We celebrated Madelyn’s second birthday at the beginning of this summer. Shortly before taking her for her birthday portrait, I reflected back on photos of her from the past year.
The photos chronicled so much. Teeth began appearing in pairs, her hair began to thicken and grow and her looks began to change. While she is now only two, she is no longer a ‘baby.’
It amazes and fascinates me how quickly they go from being a dependent little, lovable ball of a human to one running, screaming and dancing to the beat of their own drum.
When my son was little, I celebrated every moment. Often my days would stop, so I could nap with him and just be in the moment with my baby. These moments are not always as present with the second. While there are many moments she and I share together — it is all different.
The tender age of one seems to be the beginning of what I lovingly refer to as the ‘pivot.’ The days, months and years that seem to follow this birthday seem to not only come rapidly, but transform your child at the same time.
Now, just barely two, her words are morphing into sentences. Her speech is becoming more clear not only to strangers, but her loved ones as well.
Recently as Madelyn looked for her beloved frog blanket that she sleeps with, she exclaimed, ‘I go find it.’
Following this, my husband promptly looked my direction and said exactly what I was thinking, ‘Who is this kid?’
It just amazes me how quickly these little people not only grasp the English language, but put it to use appropriately. How this pint-sized person can be asked to do something and quickly respond to your request with the appropriate action.
Now, I must admit, we are still working on a few things, like showing gratitude by saying the words ‘thank you’ and not ‘you’re welcome,’ but really that’s just little stuff.
I often refer to my self as the codependent mom. My poor children. I love them so much that as they progress it not only delights me, but saddens me at the same time. I of course would love them to stay little forever.
Perhaps this is what parenthood is all about, sadness with a silver lining. We know they must grow and develop and someday (oh, goodness — dare I say it) … leave. Yet while they are with us, we must love and appreciate each moment as it presents itself.
In less than one week children will return to school. It is a new year for all of them. A year that will no doubt bring about new challenges and lessons for not only our children, but their parents as well.
As each of you prepare for that day, do yourself a favor and take a second to breath through the chaos and remember your baby. You know the one, that little bundle that once just loved to be held. That had no agenda or friends to compete with you. You were once the center of their universe and now they are yours.
In a blink it just all seems to happen and we all seem to sit, stare at each other and ask the age-old question, ‘Where did the time go?’
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 847-3021.