I just got home from date night with my two oldest. I literally cannot remember the last time I took them somewhere with no toddlers or babies coming with, and as much as we all love Seth and Vivi, I think we all needed some five and up time.
Because five year olds (and above) can hold conversations. While they can whine with amazing panache, they rarely throw themselves on the floor screaming, and they hardly drool at all! They never ask you to carry them, and they find jokes uproariously funny. The five-and-ups have attention spans that last longer than ten seconds, and when you ask them to use the restroom, they actually do it. They can read to you, they tell a mean story, and they dress themselves, feed themselves, and brush their own teeth. Voluntarily.
As cute as the toddler stage is, I have to say that hanging with the five-and-up crowd is like parenting nirvana. For me, of course. Your mileage may vary. For years now I have gone through phases. I have passed through two under two, three under three, four under four, and five under five. Part of me always felt special having what felt like a lot of small children, and I even began to only see myself as having worth when I was going above and beyond with babies, but as they grow I realize it was never the number of kids I had that was crazy, just that they were all so young. As they get older, our family is normalizing, becoming less of a big deal, if you will. Four kids is a pretty normal amount of children to have, and now that two of them are school age, well...I thought I'd feel sad, because for so long I was always adding another baby to the crew and now we are complete and I have fewer babies to juggle.
Instead, I love it. I won't rule out ever having another baby down the line, but for now, I am absolutely digging my family and it's two very distinct divisions. The babies, Seth and Evany, and the big kids, Ava and Jace, are like two well balanced branches. And forever right in the middle, of our family tree and of our hearts, Eli. I love that he falls right in between my two sets of siblings.
But tonight was about my date with the big kids. Which was so much fun I can't wait to do it again. We went to see Secretariat and all three of us completely loved it. We all want to go see it again. And again. I grew up with horses, so I expected to love it, but my kids did, too. We were all glued to our seats and cheering Big Red on. Even though I knew what happened, I was just as excited as the kids to find out what happened. The cinematography was such that I felt like I was right there with the characters. I was also pleasantly surprised by how appropriate it was for the kids. The only thing questionable at all was that one character used the word "butt", which we don't use in our house, and Ava had to cover her mouth with her hand to stop from laughing.
While waiting for the movie, we played I Spy and chatted and counted to one hundred and reviewed spelling words and just hung out, without having to chase babies or placate picky toddlers. It was really great. We came home and had an impromptu dance party before bed and had a huge helping of that thing they call bonding. Our lives are so crazy right now that we are forever running from one activity to the next and rarely just hanging out and making memories, and I didn't even realize how much I missed that until tonight. We need to plan less, and play more.
And the upside is that my two sweet, lovely babies were fast asleep when I got home and the break I got from them this evening means I now miss them terribly and am forcibly stopping myself from sneaking into their rooms to pet their heads. I will be thrilled to see them in the morning, and that means that I think tomorrow will be just like today: Great.
2 days ago