A 40 Year Old On Your Breast

And people say he's not sexy.

          Nothing stays the same. There are no good old days. Our memory has the tendency to romanticize the past especially when you feel threatened. Life is change and fighting this is the cause of depression and anxiety. We know things have a beginning, middle and end and yet we fight every little evolution. There is no better place to prove this than in watching a child. Kids change daily. Don’t believe us? Check out a picture of your kid when they were born and look at them now.

          Lee says: When Bobby was born, he was, how do I say this and be nice, not attractive. Bobby was squishy and jaundicy and just a long, fuzzy, noodle baby. By the time he was 4 days old, he was a handsome little guy. Then he got troll-like then, shazzam, he was a cutey! His big eyes and easy personality had everyone cooing over him. Every day was a new look and even 6 years later, he still seems to change, albeit not so drastically.

          Being a parent means dealing with constant change. Some things may be subtle and others are like a kick in the gut. Like when your daughter tries to manipulate you or your child looks at you with anger when you are just keeping them safe. Ungrateful little curs! Our job as parents is truly to grieve our child everyday in one way or another.

          Your child does something cute, you laugh. You have him perform for family, they laugh. A week later, he won’t do it anymore. That spark of spontaneous joy is now gone forever. Like Ricky, who a few months ago would answer any ‘where’ questions with ‘behind you!’ For example: ‘Ricky, where’s Bobby?’ Ricky would answer, without any evidence that he was correct, ‘Behind you!’ This response would freak us out and at the same time would be so cute we would squeal with glee. Now, if you ask him where something is, he’ll answer ‘Inano’. Said quickly, it sounds like ‘I know’ but there is a slight stutter in the word to suggest a ‘na’ sound. Cute as hell but he’ll stop that soon enough.

          For those reading with little ones, these small milestones seem as if they’ll last forever. For those readers with older kids, we know the drill. One day they’ll wake up and have shed that little kid cuteness. Then you’ll lament that you missed it or thought you had more time. This is when we decide to clamp down and not let the kids grow up. You know, treat them like babies. Many parents are guilty of this one.

          Babying an older child is just a recipe for how to make an annoying child. The problem is that you are neglecting to teach them things like responsibility. So, when the time comes that they need to step up and take the reins, they are unable to. Then you become angry with them for not being mature. Why would they be? They have been praised for being babies and maturation is met with shock, fear and grief.

          So what am I saying? I have no idea. Oh yeah, model appropriate behavior to them, don’t baby them, don’t expect them to be able to do something you have avoided teaching them to keep them babied and finally, stop babying them. Let them change. Let them develop. Remember you are raising them for the world and not as your play things. Unless, of course, you want to be burping them when they’re in their 30s.

           Paul says: I really have to start accepting the changes in my kids. With our daughter looking at colleges, it is getting harder and harder to visualize my little wiggly-eyed baby with the giant forehead. OK, her eyes still wiggle but the bangs cover her forehead very nicely. It’s funny but acknowledging the changes in my children is really accepting that I am changing. Father to a baby is very different then dad to a teen. Very different. Very very different.  And, of course, father may get the addendum of father-in-law. And daddy gives way to granddaddy.

          I just stopped breathing. I think I’ll go back to babying my kids.

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