One of the bonuses of being a teacher is you get to screw up on other people’s teenagers before you have any of your own. Also, you aren’t afraid of the teenage years because you chose to hang out with them as your profession. It also keeps the baby years in perspective. Oh look, these kids were all raised differently and most turned out just fine. Good to know, good to have proof.
One of the things I have been thinking about lately is the piece of advice my first team teacher gave me. She had been teaching for about 25 years and I learned a lot from Ms. Hill. But I tend to think about this quote from a parenting perspective. “It may be cute when they are two, but if they are 16 and doing it, are you still going to think it is cute? It isn’t fair,” she would say, “to teach a kid that something is cute, and then one day tell them to knock it off.” She also liked to say that if you don’t establish who is in charge when the kid is a toddler, the battle comes back with a vengeance when the kid is a teenager.”
Being teenagers reminds me that my babies won’t be babies forever. They will be people who will be spending most of their days without me around. It seems impossible right now, as I am surrounded by diapers and little shoes that need put on, my ears full of LOOK AT ME MOMMY! and AGAIN! Currently neither one of my kids can even make themselves a sandwich, how in the world are these two babies going to grow up to be functional people?
But that is the goal, and by the grace of God they will. It is so easy to forget that my babies won’t be babies forever. That eventually they will be grown women who I pray are serving their God boldly and recklessly. While it may be hysterical for the Peanut to say certain phrases now, it won’t be so cute at 4…or 8. Being kind starts now. Loving well means sharing with your sister now even when the Rooster may not even notice. The Rooster already has to learn that it isn’t always going to be her turn.
There are so many things I frett about. (The girls are currently in cahoots to ensure we never, ever sleep. Christian and I are taking turns sleeping through the night.) I spent two days ago feeling bad I didn’t breastfeed the rooster longer. And I need to know how to get her to poop less (6 times on Fathers day when Christian didn’t have to changer her. 6 times) But I spend so little time thinking about how to instill kindness and compassion. I can tell you from experience that can be spotted later in life.
It is a good reminder, to watch my students behave without their moms around. That my babies will always be my babies, but they won’t always be babies. And I don’t want them to act like it.