Can I say that?
I’m already imagining accusations of being a terrible mother, so let me clarify. Yes, I have two little kiddos of my own, and doted on each of them as wee babes. Yes, I do get a bit nostalgic when I think back on the newborn period. And yes, your baby is, of course, adorable. I appreciate babies, I find them cute, I like their milky smell and coos and sweet cuddles. But you know what? My youngest just turned one and I couldn’t be happier.
Because what I like best about babies is that they turn into toddlers.
You see, I have a knack with toddlers. Their magical way of seeing the world, budding imaginations and appetite for learning fascinate me. I can drink endless cups of imaginary tea, sing Baby Beluga on repeat, and can muster the patience to deal with kinetic sand. I even find the tantrums funny in their own way. Babies, on the other hand, are kind of dull. And once kids pass the age of five or so, I’m a bit less certain on how to connect. I’m most comfortable with that toddler-to-preschool set.
I’ve talked with other parents who have an affinity for a certain age.
Just as our natural athletic, academic or artistic aptitudes vary, so too can our skill for connecting with different ages of kids. And that’s OK. It has nothing at all to do with love – of course I love my daughters – and everything to do with my ability to relate and engage.
There are women (and men) who absolutely adore babies. They are especially adept at snuggling newborns and with special tricks for soothing the smallest of tears. Still others have a natural report with middle-schoolers.
I wonder if my feelings will change as my own children age. Will my affinity for certain phases “age-up” along with them? Will having adolescents of my own provide me with new kid conversational skills? I hope so, but I also suspect I’ll always have a fondness for this magical toddler period.
How about you? Do you have a particular age you feel you connect with best? And, has that changed over time? I’m interested in hearing from other parents. Just don’t expect me to want to hold your new baby.