For the past two weeks or so, Facebook has been bombarded with smiley apple-cheeked back to school pics, and as parents its easy to slip into “remember when…” mode.  Remember Suzie’s first day of kindergarten?  Before she discovered black eyeliner and her hatred of authority?  Remember Johnny’s first day of first grade picture?  That was back when he didn’t roll his eyes every time I opened my mouth and think I was the most embarrassing thing to ever roam the earth.  As a parent of a “big kid”, I know I often woefully reminisce about how wonderful it was to have an adorable little munchkin; but lets be honest, we’re with rose-colored glasses.

Let’s get real for a minute, remember how much it stunk having a little kid?  And I’m not just talking stinky diapers.  Tantrums, having to watch them like a hawk every second of every day, spills, carrying them, dirty, sticky little hands, I could go on all day.  See it wasn’t all wine and roses, and if you’re at all like me, it was a lot of wine after your little monster went to bed.  I know at times it can be terrifying, but personally I’m psyched to have a big kid, and here are some reasons why.

  1. Food.  When my 12 year old says he’s hungry my standard response is “you know where the kitchen is”.  Have you ever said that to a toddler?  Not likely.  And how much do I miss cutting up food into world’s smallest toddler bites?  Not at all actually.
  2. Supervision.  Remember having to keep a little kiddo entertained?  Even if you just plopped them in front of the television you still had to keep an eye on them because if you didn’t next thing you know the little angel would be juggling ginsu knives. It really made doing everything from taking a shower to cooking dinner quite difficult.
  3. Movies.  The vast majority (if not all) of parents have had to sit through a stupid movie they absolutely hated at the movie theater (for me it was “B Movie”, Jerry Seinfeld you’re better than that).  But now that I have a big kid, I can just drop him and his buddy off at the movies and get a pedicure (or a cocktail) while I wait for them, it’s pretty darn awesome.
  4. The Beach.  I’m a beach person, my son is a beach person, and together we are beach people.  You parents of little kids probably think as they get older the less crap you’re going to be lugging to the beach, not true, its just different, bigger crap, oh and there will be an extra set of hands to carry it.  The real difference is what you’re going to do once you get to the beach, which is nothing.  That’s right, with a big kid you can actually relax at the beach.  Sit back, read a book, even close your eyes for a minute, you don’t have a little rug-rat who’s going to toddle down to the water and try to eat some seaweed.
  5. Friends.  The stress of play dates.  If it’s at your house you need to worry about feeding and entertaining not just your own kid, but at least one other person’s kid as well.  Well older kids don’t have play dates, they just have friends over.  And instead of having to entertain two kids, you don’t have to entertain any, because bigger kids think you are lame and they can entertain themselves.  You do have to feed them, but now you can just give them some cash and tell them to go get subs or a pizza, and maybe if you’re lucky they’ll save you a slice.
  6. General upkeep.  Little kids are a lot of work.  The feeding, the dressing, the bathing, reading to them, putting them to bed, putting them back to bed every time they wake up during the night, they’re just so darn needy!  Bigger kids have the same basic needs, but really all you have to do is make sure food is available and iron their clothes, they seem to be able to take care of the rest.

So parents of big kids, don’t waste time being sad about how cute and sweet your kid was when they were little, because they were also a pain in the butt.  And parents with little kids attached to their hip, don’t worry, your day will come.  Some day soon, you’ll wake up one morning and your little cherub will have shot up a couple feet, be cutting their meat on their own, telling you the sneakers you bought them are lame.  Just be patient, before you know you’ll be looking at someone else’s back to school pics and telling them to cherish every minute, then high-fiving yourself because you don’t have to wipe your kid’s bum anymore.