My sister-in-law asked me a question last night about the kids and parenting.
“What do you think is easier, now (18 months) or, say, 12 months?”
I thought about it for a while. My initial instinct and response was to say that now is easier. They can walk, they have some useful words, they can play in new ways. But, as we all know, the truth isn’t that clear.
On the one hand, I’m the first to reassure a new mom of twins that it does, in fact, get easier. And it really does. There’s nothing quite like those first few crazed weeks and months, when you are filled with worry and doubt and often feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. But aside from that… is it easier?
I think the truth is closer to this: the things that were really hard in the earliest days, like struggling to breastfeed slow eaters, total lack of sleep, and other basic survival needs, are generally less and less of an issue as the kids get older. But as they grow, new things get hard. For instance, I give almost no thought to my kids getting a full night’s sleep these days (knock on wood, thank my lucky stars, turn around three times and spit). But I also occasionally have fond memories of the days when they stayed where I put them, whether that was the exersaucer or even sitting on a playmat. Now I have two toddlers who seem to think that they have to get the maximum amount of destruction accomplished in the 30 minutes before bedtime. (Do they have some kind of mess quota they need to meet by the end of the day?)
So now, when I’m talking to a new mom, I do feel like I’m being honest when I say it gets easier. Because the things that are so, SO hard at 6 and 12 weeks and 5 months will absolutely get easier. And while there are new and interesting things that crop up to keep you on your toes, I’m not willing to be a downer and say “oh, look out, it gets harder!” Because that’s not entirely true, either.
For me, I have to say that the general trajectory is that things get better as they get older, if not necessarily easier. Yes, two toddlers with their nonsensical eating habits, lack of logical reasoning, intense whining, and general madness can be really hard some most many days. But I also think that the good parts of this age are way better than the good parts of, say, 4 months. Hard is still hard, bad is still bad, but good is better.
Or, at least, that’s how I like to think about it. What about you? Do you think it generally gets easier as they get older? Harder? Sure, every age has it’s challenges, but what stage has been your favorite so far?
I think this might be my favorite stage yet (though I did rather like months 9-12). And if nothing else, I might be able to get them started on chores soon…