I can recall being a high school student with the weight of time weighing heavy on my mind. Days took too long, weeks dragged on, school years felt like an eternity, and “old” was a ridiculously low number…which the Dude has surpassed by now.
But at some point, time shifts. Out of nowhere, there’s never enough time in a day. Weeks fly by. A “school year?” That’s not even a year! “Old?” I’m convinced that’s got to be a state of mind much more so than a number.
Time is a slippery foe. Too much for the youth, and not enough for the aged.
From a parenting perspective, everyone seems to share the same view; “Kids grow up too fast.” A cliché?…possibly, but it’s a cliché for a reason…there’s a strong element of truth. As the wise sage Ferris Bueller once espoused, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
At five weeks, I’ve already uttered “they grow so quick.” Right, crazy. But…it’s true. At five weeks, he’s already grown out of infant diapers and his first stage of clothes. Not a huge deal, but it’s a sign of what’s to come. Soon he’ll be sitting up, crawling, walking, running, driving, moving out.
A bit drastic. But we know what’s ahead. We’re witnessing the growth potential with the Princess. She is five going on 16.
Proportionally, the first few years of life have exceptional growth. From one through three, the rapid growth is apparent through the range of body movements developing; head stays up, sits up, crawls, walks, etc. At four, life starts to click; concepts and ideas come into view. By five, they seem like little adults…adults with the potential to spread glitter and perfume throughout the house like Tinkerbelle on a fairy rampage.
This past week, the Princess hit play date and sleepover age. We’re jumping in with both feet. First sleepover at a friend’s house, a play date at Casa de Dude, and the first sleepover here all in one week. Adjusting to a five week old and taking in some rouge kids at the same time. Great idea.
The Princess has relished this new found freedom. The independence is palpable. But with every autonomous act, comes a brilliantly orchestrated feat that could only be the product of the five year old mind. Each time the five year old shows itself, I’m reminded to enjoy Now. Moments lead to hours, days, weeks, and years. Time moves fast.
Play dates and sleepovers are a big step. Increased independence, new social interactions. The Girl is on the fast track to adulthood.
However, the idea of a play date is much more grown up than the act of a play date. The majority of a five year old play date consists of moving toys from one location to another. It starts by pulling the entire inventory of toys from their storage location and erratically shifting from one creative game to another throughout the house, and most of these games require ALL of the toys to be moved to a new location every three minutes. The end result is far worse than any house party the Dude ever threw at his parents’ house….not that I ever did that Mom and Dad.
In addition to partying like a rock star, the Princess is now using the phone like a teenager. The Princess makes calls to her short list of numbers at freewill. At this point the phone calls are mainly to Nina, but it’s a sign of what’s to come.
Nina made the mistake of mentioning a girls trip with the Princess two weeks before departure. A bag has been packed next to her bed for 14 days, and she’s used her limited phone privileges to make travel plans and fill empty moments with a phone attached to her ear. Like a teenage girl trying to keep her boyfriend on the phone, the Princess can hold a conversation. I’m only privy to one side of the conversation, but this is what I hear…
- “Oh, you know what I was thinking about? Are we going to shop at the top of the mountain? Should we do toys?…It’s pretty fun if you want. What else should we buy?…we could buy clothes if you want.”
- Talking about her bad dream: “If you wake up and then wake down again, you won’t have the bad dream.”
- Listing what she packed…14 days ago: “I put in a Polly Pocket, a pony…I think…and Aerial.”
- About their trip: “Can we swing there?”
- I can only image how Nina responded to this: “Do you want me to hang up, or do you want me to keep talking?”
- Filling time: “Stars are pretty.”
To hold a 25 minute phone conversation shows amazing maturity. And for every 25 five minute conversation, there’s a conversation full of non-sequiturs that pulls the Dude back into the moment.
Princess: There’s a donut place before the cabin.
Princess: There are trees just before the cabin.
Dude: Yes, like donuts, trees are everywhere.
Princess: There’s a hill at the cabin…just like winter.
Princess: We went sledding at the cabin.
Dude: I’m not really sure I see the connection.
My guess is “kids grow too fast” because we are so busy we forget to pay attention and enjoy the moment to moment growth. Here’s to paying attention.