When Wren was an infant, I would sometimes stumble across essays written by moms who were finding the demands of raising a baby overwhelming. These pieces were honest and raw, and I did not understand them at all. I was one of those rare creatures who, despite being used as a 24/7 jersey cow and never sleeping, really enjoyed the baby phase. Babies make me swoon. I kind of want to eat them.
Of course I can look back and see all the sacrifice the infant stage requires, and I am so totally out of that phase so it doesn't look as bad through the fog my brain has created to make the unbearable parts fuzzy. But I liked my Moby wrap and milk drunk faces. I liked feet so small they didn't seem real and gummy mouths. I didn't love not writing for years, but I expected that to happen so I was mentally prepared.
I am also finding I like school aged kids. Wren and Sam are maybe the funniest people in the world. Before bed every night we sing a song called "Shiny Heiny" and we spent a large portion of time at the library this week picking out books about farts. We are doing activities on probability and we read everything we can get our hands on. I have an entire unit planned on time travel when they are a bit older that has us reading A Wrinkle in Time and Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me, and I think about the joy the idea of this unit gives me a lot.
But here's the truth: toddlers are not my jam. This has been true with every child in this household. It's not that I stop loving them when they are toddlers. I just don't love this stage. It's like living with pint-sized belligerent drunks who pee in the floor daily. They are so angry. A plastic spork from Ikea disappeared from the silverware drawer several days ago, and I have searched to make sure the twins did not hide it under their mattress. I fear one day when they ask for water and I bring them water, and then they decide they wanted milk and this is somehow my fault for not predicting what they would think, they are going to shank me with that spork.
It's taken me a while to come to terms with not loving every single second of parenting. I had so much guilt about it for so long. I didn't realize you could love your kids, value your kids, invest time in your kids and still have issues enjoying the phase. I truly feel joy in my heart for my life, and I wouldn't trade it. I've never regretted having kids. But it's fair to say I do not love being yelled at by two-year-olds. I don't love going to the library or grocery store or park and having the smallest people in the family exercise the largest amount of pull over how long we can stay. I don't love the sporadic sleep regression or the WWF style fighting two toddlers of the same age participate in. I'm over the biting, man.
And that's okay. It doesn't make me a bad mom. It just makes me what all those other moms were when they admitted to not loving the baby phase: honest. Unflinchingly, not-afraid-to-be-judged honest. So if you see me for the next year and a half and I look like I am both enjoying momming it while simultaneously looking as if I need a drink, it's the phase. It's okay. I'm a toddler mom, and a school age mom, and a boy mom, and a girl mom, and a twin mom. Just a mom. We're all going through our phases.