There is a time period that is 1/2 way over, a time that every new mother should be told about. One that if she knew about would guide her through those sleepless nights, the colic, and the tantrums. I call it the “sweet spot.” I want it to never end.
Before I had children, I would poll friends and family members as well as listen to the stories my patients told. I recall one of my favorite nurse’s, a mother of 8 year twins saying: “It just gets better and better.” She was referring to every developmental phase. I am yet to experience every developmental phase with my own children but I know of one I wish I could freeze in time.
The sweet spot is a 2-year window sometime around pre-school. A time that is so edible and savory. For our son, it was from the age of 3-5. And for our daughter it started at the age of 4.
It is the sound of their voice, so sweet and high pitched. I record it periodically so I can listen to it now and again. It is their ability to hold mini-conversations and the countless questions they ask. That curiosity that never ends not the “but whys” that plague us in their toddler years. The really wanting to know why the sky is blue, how far it is to Baba’s house or how to build a rocket ship to take usback to Seattle.
How they think you can do anything. I know in today’s society we are expected to…do it all. But when your child makes you feel like you can; that is priceless. On return from a trip to Singapore where it was lush and green without a mountain of sand in sight, Mr. 8 then 3 years old exclaimed, “Make it green mama. Make it green, I dont’ like all the brown.” Because I could after all do anything so why not have the ability to turn the desert green.
With Ms. 4 in pre-k now, I miss when the days were ours alone. Now there is little time for just the two of us. So, I steal it when I can. I drink in her sleep in the morning. Giving “a hundred kisses”: butterfly and cheek until she wakes. I go along with her make believe even if we only have 5 minutes. I listen to her interpretation of life and observe her interactions with her little friends.
I steal it for I know it will end. Mr. 8 is already questioning: Santa Clause (he still believes, shhh!), the tooth fairly, and no you cannot morph into Count Dooku to fight evil as Ms. 4 exclaimed. Where is my little boy who really believed he could build that rocket ship that would take us back to Seattle?
For now Ms. 4 is still full of life, and of joy. The tantrums largely subsided. Wanting to be just like me, my constant reminder that I have to be a good role model, as she mirrors me.
Last night Ms. 4 stole downstairs after being put to bed for the third time. This time she emerged wearing Mr. 8’s sweatshirt with the hood pulled over her head. “You don’t see me.” She said. “But if you did, you would think I was Mr. 8.” How could we be mad as she poured herself a glass of milk? We laughed for a good long while.
Last week she came downstairs dressed as a princess. I said: “Are you a princess?” “No Snow White” she said. “And this is “Charming” as she pointed to my husband. So endearing that she referred to “Her Daddy” as Prince Charming.
When I work in my office with the door closed, it is never without a drawing or a “note” being slipped under my door just so I can remember that she is still there and still loves her mama.
I savor it all as it will pass too quickly as she is our last. I want to shout to every mother as her toddler is throwing a tantrum: “ This too shall pass, and then you will enter the sweet spot.”
What has been your “Sweet Spot”?
Photo credit: terren in Virginia