I hate that.
My kids are to the age where I do want time to stop; I want them to freeze right now, while they are sweet and carefree, but old enough for basic logic. If kids teleported to this stage after 6 months, we would probably have ten of them.
But I have no regrets about looking forward to when my toddlers and preschoolers were older. Of course I miss the fat rolls and on-demand snuggling. OF COURSE. Unless your life is an unmitigated hell, there is always something to miss. The frustration of those years changed me into a better mother and forged a bond with my kids that can't be replicated.
However. I do not regret casting my mind forward to the future in order to get myself through another day with a one year old and a two year old. I do not regret visualizing grown-up conversations with my three year old while she threw herself face-first off a piece of furniture and cried into my arms for the third time that day. I do not regret gagging and gritting my teeth through yet another stomach bug where my vomit-covered babies required immediate hugs.
I know some people get through those days by reminding themselves that these years are short, that the baby fat turns to ribs and lean muscle. I get that. You do whatever it takes to find joy in the moment.
But for me, knowing that these years are short is exactly what got me through it, for exactly the opposite reasons. I knew there would come a time when I would be able to have a conversation at dinner with my six- and seven-year-old about Harry Potter, and we would all more or less understand what each of us were saying. One of them would no longer scream until snot fell into the dinner I spent an hour crafting, while the other refused to eat anything but salad (yes, this is a valid complaint when it is literally the only thing your always-hungry child will eat) and rubbed the rest of her food all over her body.
During that time, commands to TREASURE IT only stressed me out. Someday I'll be 35 years old, and my kids will be at school, and my dried-up womb and I will sit on the living room floor, sobbing into baby clothes.
I'm not 35 yet, but this hasn't happened. Every time I eat dinner with a mom of a very young child, and her dinner gets cold while she cuts up his food into tiny pieces, I think, "I'm so glad that's over." Every time I change the diaper of a friend's baby, I think, "I'm so glad we don't have to pay for these anymore." Every time I hear a toddler throw a fit in a store, I remember every time I had to wrestle a writhing 30 pounds of Emmy out of Target in a swirl of humiliation and think, "YES! It's not mine!"
There are things I miss, but as a whole? I'm so glad those days are over.
(this is where God decides it's time for a surprise baby, right?)
Now, the other thing that stresses me out, and this one is super weird.
They're supposed to relieve stress, right? No. No, I look at a coloring book in the store and I feel like I'm looking at my term paper I haven't even started that's due tomorrow. Even pictures of them on Facebook stress me out. I can barely look at this image:
I just broke out into hives.
It is the weirdest thing, and I want an explanation for it. I keep Googling things like, "Coloring books make me anxious" and, "Adult coloring books cause me more stress," and I come up with everything except an explanation. On a planet with seven billion people, I find it hard to believe that I am unique in any one area, but this might be it. I may be the only person on earth who breaks into a sweat looking at a coloring book.
I don't know if any of you are psychologists (via a legit school or Google university, I don't care), but I really want an explanation for this.