Being a parent of older kids has its perks. Once you get
past those baby and toddler stages, you feel as if you can breathe a bit more.
You're no longer beholden to a milk monster who demands that you feed him every two to three hours at night. You can (mostly) trust your children to play by
themselves in a completely separate room. You can have entire conversations
Sometimes, you can even sleep through the night.
But my husband and I have learned that, as your kids get
older and gain more independence, you give up a few things, too.
are your new radio overlords
"Please, Mom, can we not listen to NPR this time? Can
we do the other station? The one with the good music? The kind we listen to?
I finally relented to their request a few months ago. I
gave up full control of the radio dial. And do you know what my new radio
We start the car. That Justin Bieber song is playing.
We stop the car, enter the store for a 15-minute shopping trip, get back into the
car and start it up again. That same Justin Bieber song is playing. Again. As
it will be. Forever. And ever. Until the radio gods decide which next mediocre
pop song to overplay.
Sometimes I just turn the dial back to NPR and tune
out my children's anguished cries over "having to listen to that Gross Fresh
Air person again."
inane cartoons: Welcome to inane YouTube channels
So there's a time when you can pretend that Sesame
Street is the only kids' programming that exists. Then there's a time of flux,
and you can reluctantly put up with a few other shows, despite the fact that
you have absolutely no idea where Max and Ruby's parents are and you think that
Curious George is kind of a dick.
Our kids now pick up on innuendo.
With older kids, you give up complete pre-approval of every
single piece of media they encounter. Parental controls help. But they don't
prevent kids from finding new shows on their own.
And they didn't prevent my kids from discovering YouTube.
They also didn't prevent them from discovering those YouTube channels where
people record themselves playing Minecraft and just, like, talking about it. I now
monitor the YouTube viewing, mostly so I can ensure that my kids aren't
watching anything age-inappropriate. But sometimes I also just watch to marvel
at the fact that some of these people make 10 times my family's income simply by
recording themselves playing Minecraft
and just, like, talking about it.
innuendo, insinuation and overtones
Gone are the days when my husband and I can make
hints to one another about Christmas presents or upcoming vacation plans or
our desire to go upstairs to our bedroom and lock the door for half an hour.
Okay, 10 minutes. Ten minutes would do.
Our kids now pick up on innuendo. They can sniff out all
our nuance, all our overtones. Now we must have these conversations in private or make strange hand gestures about our plans to sneak upstairs for 10 minutes.
Okay, five minutes. Five minutes would do.
But by the way our kids react to these kisses, you'd think that we were skinning rotten possum carcasses with our bare hands.
is gross, so stop it
My husband and I don't engage in slobbery make-out
sessions in front of our kids. But we do kiss. We're affectionate people who
like to express small moments of love and affection throughout the day.
But by the way our kids react to these kisses, you'd
think that we were skinning rotten possum carcasses with our bare hands.
you guys! Stop it! That's disgusting!"
make it stop! Why did I have to see that?"
Seriously? Kissing? Again? In the kitchen? Where everyone can see?"
I have a feeling that I'll be able to get them back
with some exaggerated reactions of my own once they're in high school.
lasting snuggles are precious and fleeting
I don't know when it stops. Maybe it's when their
bodies are just too big to fit on your lap. Maybe it's when they become
self-conscious about cuddling with their mom or dad. Maybe it's when they
forget how much they once loved doing nothing but curling up against your chest
and fitting all snug into your arms.