Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Awkward Age

This may come as a surprise to you… in fact, it still comes as kind of a surprise to us but, my husband and I really aren’t baby people. Given that there was a short window where we had five kids under four, you’d think we’d be those schmoopie types that just melt at the sight of a newborn and can’t enough of that new baby scent. The reality is we’ve never gone to extremes to ooh and aah over someone else’s precious new babe and it took us a while to warm up to each of our own. Furthermore, we still don’t know what people mean when they bring up the glory of that new baby smell; all our babies always smelled like spit up and dirty diapers, perhaps with a whiff of sweet potatoes thrown in. Not something to get all nostalgic about, if you ask us!

Although we tend to tolerate more than celebrate the first year of life, we can’t help but admit that the old cliché is true and time flies by far too fast. Our triplets officially turn 18 months this week and can hardly be called babies. They are independent, interesting and at times intolerant little individuals. Their onesies don’t fit and their toes are busting out of their footie pajamas. They’ve taunted us by climbing up and unfortunately, falling down the stairs. While fingers are still their favorite utensils, they’ve experimented (with limited success) with spoons and forks and seem to be trying their best to cultivate some table manners. Their bottles have been history for months – a sure sign that the baby days are behind us and the toddler years have arrived. As I watch them babble, banter, toddle and tumble, I can’t help but reflect that these guys are in the midst of a somewhat awkward age that no one really talks about. Let me share some observations…

They are expert walkers but look like they have two left feet when they try to run. They are not bald yet they still don’t have much hair to speak of; what they do have resides on top of their rather large heads in free-form wisps – at times resembling the comb-over look associated with desperate old men and at times cascading down to the rat-tail look that thankfully went out in the 80s. They have very big bellies that sometimes turn the corner before the rest of their little bods. They have some teeth, but not all of them – a look which was adorable with the first few but now looks like the Tooth Fairy is playing a trick on them. They try to talk but are constantly misunderstood... or so they would lead me to believe!

When it comes to teenagers, we expect and anticipate the “awkward age” but when it comes to babies, well, I for one sure didn’t! And, after seeing how quickly our baby days became simply fodder for photo albums, I know that this funny, strange and endearing phase will pass all too quickly. Before we know it, they’ll be out of their highchairs, deciding to wear what they want to wear and running so fast that I can’t keep up. Which is exactly why I’m going to do my best to just take a deep breath and enjoy this time that I know is both precious and fleeting. Not to mention, as soon as these guys can talk, they just might point out that I’m in an awkward phase too… with my fading highlights, rapidly reproducing grays, a few extra pounds and a severely outdated wardrobe, who am I to pass judgement?!

Note: This post originally appeared on www.parentsask.com on April 12, 2010.

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