If I could, I’d love to go back to when my children were babies and toddlers again. Oh that was such a wonderful time, full of chubby, spit-covered cheeks and little feet pounding across the floor, screeches of hysterical laughter because the dog was scratching himself. So many memories of little bodies hurled at me for an all-encompassing hug, complete with a messy face rubbing itself on my shoulder and those heraldic smiles of trust and love. In those days, Mommy could do no wrong and Daddy was Superman. My husband could keep my two girls in spasms of laughter by simply putting a paper towel on his face and blowing it into the air.
There were more smiles than tears, and going to bed involved a process with steps that could not be missed or there would be protests and cries of foul play. First we had to read to them. Yes, I read to my children from the time they were just a few months old, and both are now avid readers, well advanced in their class. So we read to them, sometimes two or three stories a night. Then, each had to have their “lovey” presented to them and tucked under their chin. After Daddy had his kisses from each, which might take 10 minutes if I didn’t stop it, there was the song. Every night, the same song, sung twice because each girl had to have her own. I sang “Baby Mine” – the song from the movie Dumbo – every night, twice a night, for years.
Sure there were tears. Lots of crying, but I learned to take each set of tears as an opportunity to teach my girl how to manage her feelings. It brought me to understand just how they looked to me as an example on how to react to any situation. And I have to admit, it brought me great satisfaction to be the one they turned to when the tears came. Only Mommy would do, and okay Daddy if Mommy was at the store.
My girls are now 10 and 12, and while I love them even more than I did when they were toddlers, I miss those ooey-gooey days of diapers and baby powder farts, teething rings and sippy cups, naps and happy toothless grins each time they saw me. Now? I have to force them to say hello to me, to talk to me, to let me inside their little minds.
I can’t wait to be a grandmother and get all that good stuff again … and then hand them back for the smelly parts!