Stage 1: Me, have kids? Really? Your biological alarm goes off. Every baby is unbeliveably cute. Am I ready for kids? They are pretty darn cute. Why not? Plus, making babies is quite fun!
Phase 2: Heavy with Child The missed period - am I, aren't I? Soon confirmed by the morning trips to the bathroom to meet with you new acquaintances Ralph and Huey. But it is all worth it when you feel that first flutter - was that a kick? Was that his, you-know, on the ultrasound? A few months later and you know all about those kicks - and the elbows. Plus backache, piles, swollen ankles, varicose veins - who was responsible for getting you into this state???? Wow - was that you swearing like a trouper? Puff puff, pant pant, Oh, Oh, Oh, Ah... isn't she sweet? let's see. ten fingers, ten toes, Oh she's just perfect, isn't she, darling?"
Stage 3: Your life has changed forever. Sleep is a long lost art. Your nipples kill and you are can't stand the endless dieting. Despite the discomfort your baby is worth every moment. She smiles at discovering her little toes. She tastes them. You get the bottle because she must be hungry. A long list of first time events unfolds. She sits, crawls, stands, and walks to you all on her own. She can eat solid food and go to the potty. You are filled with immense pride. That is, until she has a tantrum, but the tantrum is only temporary. The television takes place of fun, stories and games. Your baby hits the academic world. You know she is ready, but will miss her.
Phase 4: Playgrounds, parties and alphabets. How fast they change from being cuddly babies to young, independent, school kids. In some English private schools they even wear a uniform with cap and tie (for the boys)! Toilet jokes - everything and anything to do with pooping and peepee is absolutely hilarious! Their first best friend, and first rejection. Scraped knees in the playground. And, of course, their first "it's not fair!" How hard it is to let them go - but you can't protect them from everything.
Phase 5: Time for academics Play times fall by the wayside when they have to learn the alphabet and addition. It may be easier for your child or it may feel like the teacher is speaking Chinese. If your child succeeds easily you have a fairly smooth ride ahead of you. If your child has trouble then you will have many potholes on the road called "school". Despite the tense moments, you will always have the cute moments such as when she spies Santa or wants a frilly doll for her birthday. Remember they are not babies. They need to follow rules and do their chores.
Phase 6: Pre-teens and Puberty Girls will be girls and boys will be boys - and never the two shall mix. Well, why would they? The girls are all into pink and giggle too much - and the boys are just too cool for such silliness. Clothes. You are just SO out of date mom! No one wears that anymore! And why should it matter if my pants are hanging down by my knees? Mom, these clothes are too small! Language. Well cool. First bra, first period. Lipstick and makekup. Squeeky voice that breaks. Anti-perspirant.
Phase 7: "Kevin goes Large" Suddenly boys and girls are not so alien after all. Does (s)he fancy me? Suddenly too, your precious child, whom you taught everything, knows more than you. In fact, you apparently, know nothing, and they knows everything! Parents are out, friends are everything. So is music and fashion. And late nights. "Aw mum, why do I have to be back so early - everyone else is staying until 3 am!" Oh yeah? Are they really? But, every now and then, you can have an amazing conversation with your new young adult - as long as you aren't trying to lecture them. Then, one day, the fireworks settle. The grunts turn into English again and like a phoenix from the ashes, and new (adult) human emerges - full of ideals and dreams and visions, but perhaps a bit short on confidence and wisdom.
Phase 8: (well, who said I could count?) So they've left home - but they are still your little darlings. Your worries and hopes for them continue. "I'll love you, forever. I'll like you, for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be" - Robert Munsch The years will pass so quickly. Make the most of every one of them along the way.
By Noel Swanson
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