The First Four Years…

I know that Heather Armstrong at Dooce.com linked to this a while back but it keeps coming to mind so I thought I’d share it here: “On Parenthood” (it has some strong language if you prefer a warning about such things).  The thing that really jumps out at me is the following passage:

It’s also a history lesson. The first four years of your life. Do you remember them? What’s your earliest memory? It is fascinating watching your child claw their way up the developmental ladder from baby to toddler to child. All this stuff we take for granted, but your baby will painstakingly work their way through trial and error: eating, moving, walking, talking. Arms and legs, how the hell do they work? Turns out, we human beings are kind of amazing animals. There’s no better way to understand just how amazing humans are than the front row seat a child gives you to observe it all unfold from scratch each and every day, from literal square zero. Children give the first four years of your life back to you.

(emphasis in original).

Ever since I read it I really have mulled it over as I watch R and E. I don’t even have many pictures of my babyhood, being a third child and all. I certainly don’t have video….  I watch their little interactions, their friendships, their struggles.  E started practicing skipping and even did a ballet routine in our Mommy and Me class with me on the sidelines, just eyeing the teacher.  I actually filmed her dancing and when I watch the video I can see her determined little face watching the teacher move, all while contemplating how to emulate her.  As an aside, I never realized how much went into ballet.  You aren’t just moving your legs, you’re holding your arms just so and pointing your toes and the like.  I was so proud to watch her but at the same time there was that “wow, she is growing up before my eyes” moment.

There are not so great things I remember about being a kid, but I do get a thrill thinking of the neat stuff my children have yet to experience.  Yes, there are heartbreaks but there are moments like E’s first theater show that we caught on Halloween – the moment the house lights went off and the stage was illuminated her hands flew to her mouth and she gasped in wonderment.  Good stuff — even with our challenges, aren’t we so lucky?