There is something magical about watching a child grow up; going from helpless infant to little person and beyond. During the day to day life, it's sometimes hard to take a step back and realize how much of a blessing it is to be involved in the life of a child in such a significant way. But it's also so important that we do take that time.
Every stage of development brings some new delight and it's amazing to watch. I've enjoyed something about every step on this journey thus far (and then there were parts that weren't so enjoyable, but I'm trying to think positively here!).
As an infant, when I would hold her in my arms and feed her before putting her into her crib, the room was darkened but I could still see her, holding my finger with her little hand, and I remember thinking, "I'm going to miss these days." And I was right. I loved watching her learn to roll over, and sit up, and crawl, and then walk. I loved how, as she became a toddler, she could be entertained and amused by just about anything. Fussy while we're out? Just hand her some keys. Getting underfoot while trying to make dinner? Here, take some pots and a spoon and have a blast.
Even those "terrible" twos weren't so bad. (I say now...) The thing I liked about it was that if I paid close enough attention, I could see what she was getting mad or frustrated about and it helped to understand her. One day she dumped all her toys out of a small toy box but before yelling, I watched her, and she flipped the box over to climb up and reach something. It was actually a very creative thing to do and I wouldn't have known it if I'd just flown off the handle at her dumping her toys all over the floor. I loved how she would get excited to see a bus or a dog. I loved watching her play outside, finding a leaf or a stick, and I would think, This is what kids her age have done since kids were invented.
At three you could have a conversation with her. She was much more opinionated but that just means she had her own ideas. There was more area for reasoning with her, where with a younger toddler you're just wasting your breath trying to explain why they can't do something. And I got to watch as she cut with scissors for the first time. And she was fully potty trained by then and starting to put her own clothes on. She wanted (and still wants) to do everything herself and I'm proud of her independence.
And now she's four, no longer a toddler, but a real kid, running, riding her bike and her scooter. She tells stories and remembers things (for better or worse). I love how excited she gets when she writes a letter the right way for the first time and she runs around the house, stopping to tell each person, the thrill in her voice never wavering. I'm proud of who she is and I wonder who she will be become.
And I look forward to all the ages and stages that we'll still get to experience. Together.
Emma Craig blogs at P is for Preschooler and tries to keep up with an active 5 year old. She believes in simple play and playful learning. Her daughter often has other ideas! You can find them on Facebook and Pinterest.