Big Kids Are Great

Not gonna lie, having older kids is pretty awesome.

Every once in a while you’ll see a meme in which someone wishes they could go back in time to see their children when they were babies/toddlers/preschoolers one more time. I totally get it. We remember all the good stuff from those halcyon days and forget the drudgery.

But, I’m going to be real honest — I don’t want to go back. When other people announce pregnancies I’m so thankful it’s them and not me. I did that, three times, I don’t want to do it again.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll help you with your baby. I’ll be so thrilled to help you with your toddler! Need someone to hold your baby while you pee? Need someone to watch your toddler while you go out? Need someone to entertain your preschooler while you have a doctor appointment? Happy to help. Younger kids are great! You’ll probably have to tell me what rules changed in the last 13 years or so, though.

I’ve raised three kids nearly to adulthood. Two-thirds of my children can drive, which means I can send them out for food. It’s like having my own CHOMP driver! And I’m no longer responsible for constant chauffeuring to events! Sometimes, I even get cute texts that say “S, P, and I are going to DQ BTW.”

three people outdoors, in front of a tree
Foreground: my three daughters. Background: the blue and red cars they can drive.

Do you know how freeing it is when you’re out somewhere and your kids can just take themselves to the bathroom?

I can leave the house without making a whole production out of it. Everyone can put on their own shoes, and there’s no need to pack a diaper bag with the requisite snacks, change of clothes, toys, books, distractions, and diapers. Or, I can just leave them home and go out by myself (I remember the respite that solitary Target shopping was when they were younger — now that solitude has kind of lost its appeal).

Older kids also really fun to talk to. They have opinions! They follow the news! They make Kahoots about themselves, and make us play them! They teach me stuff! They talk to each other! It’s great!

Don’t wish away your children’s younger years, of course. Enjoy your kids at whatever age they are now — six months old, two years old, eight years old, 27 years old.

My favorite parenting adage has always been this: every age is the best age.

I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Sharon Falduto is a Central Iowa native who came to University of Iowa in 1991 and essentially never left the area. She is involved in local community theater, notably as one of the co-founders of Iowa City's Dreamwell Theatre. She has also directed children's plays with the Young Footliters group. Sharon works in with English Language Learners in a support position at Kirkwood Community College.. She lives in Coralville with her husband, Matt, and three daughters Rachel, Samantha, and Piper.


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