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Subject: misc.kids FAQ on Good things about having kids

This article was archived around: 21 May 2006 04:22:32 GMT

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Misc.kids Frequently Asked Questions Good Things About Having Kids =============================================================================== Collection maintained by: Benjamin V.C. Collins, collins@campus.mlc.edu Last updated: July 10, 1996 [Updates added at the end.] To contribute to this collection, please send e-mail to the address given above, and ask me to add your comments to the FAQ file on Good Things About Having Kids. Please try to be as concise as possible, as these FAQ files tend to be quite long as it is. I'll include your name and e-mail address if they appear in your .sig, unless otherwise requested. For a list of other FAQ topics and how to get the archived discussions, tune in to misc.kids.info. ============================================================================= [The question that started it all:] Hello, I'm due in February and though I'm well aware of the many sacrifices and heartache involved in child-rearing, I'm at a loss when it comes to the upside of raising a family. Can anyone remind me of some of the more positive things I have to look foward to? Thanks, Avern Harrison ********** [And the replies:] The first good hardy laugh. It's just priceless. Taylor's first laugh was in New York on Ellis Island at about 4 months while we were walking down a flight of stairs. She is 4.5 now. David's was at 4 months at home when Taylor was "boo"ing him. He is just over 4 months now. ********** Now that I think about it, it is hard to remember the heartaches of child-rearing, but I can sure remember the good ones! On child-rearing: "There will always be hard times. As newborns you have to tend to them constantly. Soon they begin to crawl, you now have to watch what they get into. Then they walk, and you have to watch where they go. Then they turn 16 and want to drive your car. The hard times never go away, they just change in form. And then one day, they move out, and you wish you had more hard times." ---something a friend told me a few days before my first was born. Enjoy it. It just doesnt get any better than this! ********** The joy of holding a sleeping trust child More sleep than you got while pregnant (YMMV, of course, but I got up hourly in the last trimester, and twice a night the first six weeks after birth--definitely a bit improvement :-) The first smile A little child saying 'mama' Becoming excited over commonplace things that make your child laugh Being able to play with building blocks again The complete love of a little one People talk about how "hard" it is to be a parent, and while I wouldn't say it's _easy_, it's not hard in the ways people say it will be. Sometimes it's hard for me to stay calm while my child is losing control, or hard to play yet another toddler-level game, but mostly it's exciting and challenging and wonderful--I couldn't imagine being without him! -- --Beth Weiss bweiss@cs.arizona.edu ********** ok, avern, i'll bite. i have two little monsters, soon-to-be-3-years-old (a girl, alex) and almost-18-months-old (a boy, emmett). the main upside to having children that i have noticed so far is the opportunity you get to experience the purest love known to humans. i mean there is a depth and a dimension to a child's love that cannot be matched - unconditional, focused, intense, innocent love. other good things include the millions of things i have learned since i have had them - things i have learned about myself, about others, about life, about what is really important...about tolerance and patience, about irony, about family. >> I'm due in February and though I'm well aware of the many sacrifices >> and heartache involved in child-rearing well i am not sure who you've been talking to, but lots of people feel a need to badger pregnant women with the down side of things. and yet somehow, people keep having children, and in fact people often have more than one. so how terrible can it be? :-) i can only speak for myself and what i can tell you is that i have never known a love like the love between my kids and i. they are a part of me, yet they are individuals. they have let me explore a side of myself that i would not have otherwise known. sure there are times when they throw a tantrum, or refuse to cooperate. and there are times when a bunch of friends are going out after work or having a party and i have to miss out. and maybe money is a bit tighter than it used to be - is that what you mean by heartache and sacrifice? all of these things seem so insignificant to me when compared to the joy i get and the love i feel from my two little monsters. i wouldn't trade my life now for all the <insert-something-really-good-here> in the world. good luck. veek ********** Avern, A little scary, isn't it!? Here's what I liked about being a new mom: I loved being able to pick up an crying newborn and simply by holding him make him feel loved and secure. There is nothing like the total devotion your baby feels for you. They trust you, need you, want to be close to you, love to snuggle with you. It's a thrill when they first smile, when they first laugh, when they reach up for you to pick them up. I used to go into my kids' rooms and watch them sleep and marvel that I had helped create such a being. They soak up your love and attention for weeks and weeks and then suddenly they are able to give some of it back by acknowledging you and they squirm and wiggle with delight when they see you. Gee, I'm kind of envious of you now. Mine are 8 and 11, and they're terrific kids, but that new baby time is magical. (Of course, I have on my rose-colored rear-view glassses... there is a tad of stress and worry, as I recall) Barbara ********** Avern, Who ever put it into your head that raising a family is making so many sacrafices and burdens? Raising is family is definitely hard and it doesn't come with an instruction booklet, but it has so many, many daily rewarding aspects. I'm a married mom of two a boy and girl and we did not plan either one of the kids. In fact our first child was one we definitely weren't ready for, actually the second one too, but it was a learning experience. You're gonna make mistakes and that's okay. If you didn't I would not consider you normal. You have yet to look forward to watching your child's face as it recognizes your voice. The first time your baby smiles just at your is absolutely wonderful. The accomplishment your baby will make, like lifting his/her head, cutting a tooth, giggling, rolling over, creeping, and so on. Watch your child's face when he/she first touches a flower or sees a bug. Watch your child when he/she is sitting on the front lawn and plays in the grass in wonder. Sing a song to your child over and over and wait till that day when he/she starts singing it to you. Oh there's so much. The best of all is when your child hugs you and just looks at you like you're a million. Right now you can't totally imagine all this, but believe me you will see. Don't get me wrong, there are many tough times, but that goes without thinking. There's a lot of milestone I have yet to gain with my kids, but knowing I'll be there to help, is something to look forward. You're gonna have a human being that will love you so much and you will love back. Debbie ********** Oh, Avern....there is everything to look forward to: Smiles. Laughter. Love. Hugs. Kisses. New discoveries. Realizing the the world really is an ok place, and that it's full of all kinds of interesting things that you forgot about...like the ceiling fan blades spinning, or looking at the mini-blinds and seeing the world from a striped point-of-view. Growth. Seeing this new little person grow up into a great big person that YOU RAISED and had so much to do with. Looking at the person and saying to yourself..."I *made* this"..."WOW"! Life is a wonderful thing. Parenting is hard, but the rewards far, far outweigh the work. good luck. Carrie Caszandra's Mom ********** I've been lurking for the last few months (I've just received my first child - now 4 1/2 months.) The most surprising thing about it so far has been my pre-birth conceptions of the sacrifices and difficulties I'd face. Things that I anticipated as the most stressing have turned out to be the some of the most pleasurable. Changing his diaper is a job I *actually enjoy* and look forward to. He just comes alive when he's on the changing table getting his clothes removed. Daddy grabbing his belly button gets wide open silent laughter. (It's still work to get a verbal laugh.) Ditto bath time. And taking a tired, cranky baby in the middle of the night, my largest pre-birth fear, and rocking him asleep - watching him try his hardest to stay awake. Feeding him his first squash, seeing him apprehensively check it out, and then opening his mouth - head back - and not being able to get the stuff fast enough. I keep expecting the difficulties and heartaches, but so far it's been nothing but pleasure. I'll check back when he turns two. Jim Lutz lutz@oasys.dt.navy.mil ********** Hi Avern, My son is 16 months old and they've truly been the best 16 of my life! Here are some of the great things: o looking at your precious little newborn and knowing that you made him/her o Baby's first (and every subsequent) smile o ditto baby laughs o watching your child grow and learn to do things and become more independent o trying to figure out what's going on inside that little head, esp. once they begin to communicate a bit o watching your little one start to develop his/her own unique personality o walking into a room and having your child light up with joy o being the center of someone's universe o when your toddler sees someone kissing on TV and runs up to give you a big kiss o having someone to read all your favorite children's books to, and play with all those great toys with o taking your toddler to the zoo and watching him explode with laughter watching the animals play o getting a second chance to see things with the wonder of a child (and to appreciate the simple things you've long taken for granted, like the way shadows dance on the wall when you wiggle your fingers in front of the dining room chandelier) o all the cute things they do and say every day (look for the CTTS and CTTD threads for examples) :) o watching (or even better, holding) a peaceful sleeping baby/child Sure, there's a lot of responsibility, and some not so great times (esp. when they're sick or testing your limits) but if you make sure to take the time to appreciate the small joys of having young children, these can be the best days of your life! Good luck, and enjoy! --Robyn ********** The short term payoffs: you won't be pregnant anymore (no more heartburn, you can sleep on your tummy should you choose to, you can bend over to tie your own shoelaces, you can soon have a glass of wine now and then without worrying about birth defects...) The long term payoffs: these are harder to define. Of course, there is the first smile, the first "Mama", looking at life though childish eyes again, but this sort of stuff doesn't capture the "feeling". A friend once asked me (a DINK): "What's it like to have a child?". I told him that it's something you don't think you'd ever miss, until you became a parent. If I might digress to scientific allegory: it's like you are part of a most wondrous experiment with you and your spouse as principal investigators, and even though it requires constant attention, you know you are engaged in something big, and that the end result has the potential to change the world. The sleepless nights don't last forever, nor does the diapering, the potty training, nor the terrible twos. (The worrying about the kids does last the rest of your lives, though.) And once you have that bundle in your arms, your view of the world will never be quite the same again. Caren Feldman ********** Well despite being extremely tired myself, one of the things I really look forward to is just going home and holding my son. He is just starting to knowingly smile and recogize our voices. It gives me great pleasure to hold him and have him look me straight in the eyes and smile like "I'm glad your home dad, I need to be changed!" :-) Looking down on him while he's sleeping so soundly always sends warm feelings up my spine too! That would be during the day. :-) Now if we could just get him to sleep through the night! :-) Bob, daddy to Tyler Shane 11/4/94 ********** You can buy toys and video games and junk food, go to playgrounds and kid's museums and amusement parks, enjoy it all tremendously, and not feel weird about it, because your kid is with you. You become a better person because you have to set a good example. So your table manners improve, and you cut down on swearing and television (YMMV). Similarly, the world becomes a better place. Taking a walk around the neighborhood with the stroller, you marvel at how friendly your neighbors are, the vivid green of the grass, how many birds are out singing. Other parents bragging about their kids suddenly aren't boring. You have a good excuse for graying hair and a sagging body. These things would happen anyway, but you get a great kid in exchange! And you make your parents so very, very happy. Jo Pitesky pitesky@bonnie.astro.ucla.edu ********** The first time your baby smiles at you, while looking into your eyes. Your toddler yelling "Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY!" at the top of his lungs and nearly knocking you down with a fearce (sp?) hug to the knees when you pick him up at grandma's. The first time your child calls you "mamma" or "dada" and means *you*. The delight of watching your child learn what a rock is, or an ant, or how to ride a big wheel. Or giving them thier first cookie. :-) Watching them sleep. Being the only one that can "kiss it better". Or feeling bad yourself, and having *them* kiss *you* better. -- Kandi Hopkins, Columbus, OH kandi@infinet.com ********** Tyler, now 9 months, just noticed shadows on Christmas day. We were standing in the kitchen when all of a sudden he started waving at the wall. It didn't take us long to figure out he was waving at our shadows. So I proceeded to make a shadow show for him. Ahhh, don't you just love these times??!! Vanessa ********** The best thing about toddlers is when they look at you so triumphantly and yell "I DID it!" after accomplishing something you consider so trivial, like putting on your pants. That is just so cool. -- Marjorie Peskin (formerly mrp@world.std.com) Mum to Graham and Gemma Topaz, 8/24/92 ********** Or... when your child comes to your departments party the Friday before Christmas and as Grandma's getting ready to take her home she wraps her arms around you and says "Mother, I'm going to miss you terribly!" Sigh :-) Lynne ("mother" to Grace - 12/20/91) ********** My favorite trivial but wonderful thing is when you're walking with a little person, you put your hand out and this tiny soft warm hand just slips right in, without even a thought or a word...almost instinctively. Such trust and such love and such confidence in mommy always being right there to hold on to you. I know my 3-year old will still do it, and my almost-6-year old doesn't anymore. So I'm treasuring those little connected moments while I can. Ann Helmers ********** [Responding to the previous] Oh yes, this is great isn't it? Especially when the hand is warm and chubby and just so perfectly squishy in your own hand. And I'm so blessed. I get to walk every day with two of those hands in mine. Of course, that means I can never carry anything myself, but hey...what's more important? :-) -- Marjorie Peskin (formerly mrp@world.std.com) Mum to Graham and Gemma Topaz, 8/24/92 ********** How about when your toddler puts his hand gently on your shoulder, leans forward to look into your face and graces you with the sweetest smile you've ever seen! Or when your six year old gives you a big hug and says "mommy, you're getting skinnier!" (and she didn't even know I was trying) Or when your toddler grabs his pants off of the floor, puts them in the basket and applauds his accomplishment. Adana Davis ********** My new favorite has to do with the radio controlled Big Bird Jeremiah got for Christmas. (He's 2-1/2) He tried and tried to get it to work "right" and finally told me "Mommy I can't do it!". I told him "Sure you can, let Mommy show you." And then I did. When it the bus "went" he jumped up and down and said "I CAN do it! I CAN! I DID! Mommy, LOOK!" -- Kandi Hopkins, Columbus, OH kandi@infinet.com ********** Good Things about having kids? How about the varied forms of sleep? Since kids, I have come to appreciate all the different flavors, like: Falling asleep together while nursing, Dozing with a sleeping baby on your chest, That first 6-hour ininterrupted sleep after you bring them home, Diving back into bed for a "quickie" sleep between 6:00-8:00 am. LOng luxurious sleeps when you go away for a weekend (all the more precious because they are rare) or the other parent takes care of the kids in the morning. Preeva ********** I just had to post this. Today Justin,2, got up from his nap and made me feel like he is such a BIG boy now! Hecame out of his room and looked at me and said, "Hi MOM(mot mommie as usual), whatcha doin?" MOM, that's such a "not baby" word! And then i got ready for workand he said " Go work?" and I said yes and he said "sit",so I sat on the floor. He gave me the biggest hug and sloppiest kiss and said "I luv you MOM". I wanted to cry!! For the poster who asked about the GOOD things of child-rearing, this is one of them!!!! Lauren Major ********** From my brief experience, seeing that first smile, hearing the first cooing and gurgling sounds, and seeing how fast she is gaining excellent head control and looking around. sandra Mom to Mikayla Marie - 11/21/94 ********** This morning's experience: Walking into Ethan's room to wake him up. He stirred, not even opening his eyes, put his arms up to be held, and snuggled up against my shoulder. After breakfast, he walked up to my still sleepy husband and said "I go brush my teef". Brought a smile to that sleepy face. Or the morning I walked into his room wearing green (his favorite), and he said "Mommy looks bu-tiful" (I didn't even know he knew the word). Amy Mom to Ethan (2YO next Sunday!) ********** [Responding to the previous.] Jeremiah usually says "Mommy, you're so cuuute!" Which he got from my neices who are always saying that to him. :-) Oh, and "Look at dat! Dat's so cool!" is another favorite. -- Kandi Hopkins, Columbus, OH kandi@infinet.com ********** A few good things about having kids that I can think of: o Being able to love them and for them to love you. o Seeing them having fun and enjoying life. o Making them feel special and them knowing that Daddy will do anything for them. :) o Creating those childhood memories and knowing that they will recall them. o Thinking about all the positive things that's in store for them as they grow older(e.g. What kind of car could I get for my 6 yo. down the line. :) ) Rey (Lauren 8/8/88 & Brittany 1/9/91...my babies) ********** There have been many, many positive moments throughout my son's life . . . in purely selfish terms, I have gained so much through having known him for the last ten years. We were relaxing last night after a hectic Christmas vacation and he was telling me how much he had enjoyed our time off from school and the chance to reconnect as a family. He told me, "Mom, I'll bet all the babies in Heaven were fighting over who would get you for a mom. And I got you!!" I still get tears in my eyes when I think of the mutual love and respect behind his words. There are times when parenting is fun, times when it is hard work, and times when it is less than enjoyable. But, it is always, always rewarding. Deb Conrad conradd@bus.orst.edu ********** [Commenting on the previous.] It's those times like Deb describes that are dangerous though. Have to be careful not to go over and hug them to death. ;-) ben father to Limo (4 yo) ********** There are thousands of reasons to thankful for having children! Even if half of the time you're nerves are too shot to recognize them! :) Nick is 16 months, and he is growing up and developing a personality that just floors his Dad and I. For instance, a few months ago, he "figured out" what 'kiss' meant. I swear you could almost SEE the light bulb over his head turn on! :) Now he will give you a kiss if you ask (there are times he's gotten his feelings bent, and won't - and we don't force the issue), and it's really cute to see Nick trot across the room, wrap his arms around my leg or his Dad's and give our kneecaps a big kiss, just to show affection! The other day, I had FINALLY got all of his toys in his room, and reclaimed the family room. Within an hour or two, I noticed a toy here, a toy there, as if they were walking back out on their own, and I had to laugh! Nick just goes about his business of being a little boy, and he has so many challenges and things to do! I love watching him play in his room (when he doesn't know, 'cause he stops playing!), and he's usually babbling to himself, in his own little language. There are times you can get so frustrated. But if you stop and try to see things through their little eyes, you realize how frustrated they are! :) Very difficult thing, establishing your independence! :) I admit we are probably wrapped around his little finger to some extent (I would think all parents are), but if the worse thing we do is spoil him a little, show him as much love possible, try to teach him right from wrong and keep him safe, then being wrapped around his little finger isn't so bad. We wanted Nick because we have such a happy and loving relationship in our marriage that we wanted to extend it to a child. And everyone comments on how happy he is...and that's important. Now if Nick will just stop freaking out when his Dad and I hug....:) Diane Momma to Nick, 8/21/93 ********** One night as my two-year old and I were snuggling on the couch he reached over, patted my arm and said "Babies like Mommies." Talk about your warm & fuzzy feelings! ********** I never had that "hunger" to have a child. I had an abortion once because I didn't think our marriage was sound enough to follow through. It wasn't until I was 39 that I considered having a child...but this year has been the happiest of my life. We share so much joy, and it's true, the time-consuming, messy, frustrating tasks are different, if you're doing them for your own child. One needs support, lots of it, and misc.kids provides a great deal. One of the nicest parts of having a child is the adult friends I've made who have kids around Anna's age. And, also, it's such a joyful, universal experience to have a baby. Everyone wants to talk to you, and if you filter out the yoyos who give you whiny, down talk, you can enjoy the insights of other parents and the admiration ofnon-parents. We live in student housing, with families from all over the world, and baby Anna has provoked conver- sations with people from Australia to Turkestan, Gambia to Korea. Babies are babies, but other cultures' practices are so interesting. They do grow and change so fast that it's like trying to catch one of those blooms-every-100-years cacti (I just came back from Phoenix...). I wish you much happiness, Avern. Ruth Rosen Greenwood rgreenwo@indiana.edu ********** Oh there's so much!!! The best, I think, is that no matter how hard a day you've had with your toddler ("Alex, don't throw the ball in the house" for the thousandth time") once they're asleep they are perfect angels... Your first kiss from him/her will melt your heart. Lori Mom to Alex, 25 months ********** Is the glass half empty or half full? It all depends on how you look at it. Kids can drive you crazy if you think they are a burden. They can be the source of untold joy if you think they are a blessing. Ever since I started thanking God for my two wonderful children every night when I pray with them (even when I didn't feel like it), our relationship has really improved. It's a two way street, and the more they feel appreciated, the more willing they are to cooperate, and the bigger the upside gets. Jim Henley ********** If you sit with your kid when they are sleeping, looking at them and reviewing THEIR day, as it was for them , you will see how important you are, and how much 'more' out of life you 'get' with them.. If you listen to your kids, really listen, you will see a whole new world you can experience, too. As a mum of 2 under 5, I know they are just slices of heaven to my sense of peace, and they give me another lease on life. Selfish,a bit, but that is the positive thing i can think of for you.. Lyen ********** That lovely warm feeling you get when she ... smiles at you like you're the most wonderful person in the world laughs when you make funny faces at her snuggles into your arms so trustingly and goes to sleep reaches up those gorgeous little chubby arms to you as much as to say "I want my Mummy" and when other people say ... she's so BEAUTIFUL! That amazing sense of achievement (even though YOU didn't do it) you get when she ... sits up on her own rolls over claps hands waves bye-bye plays peek-a-boo ... get the picture? When she does ANYTHING she never did before! The relief when ... the midwife says "It's a girl and she's perfect!" the doctor says "It's just a cold" she sleeps the night through for the first time And the way you suddenly have something in common with a whole new group of people, many of whom you didn't have anything in common with before! Lesley Harkin lcooke@bfsec.bt.co.uk ********** My two babies have grown into young men. The joy and wonder of watching them become adults is just as exciting as their younger accomplishments. Now, however, I can't fix all their mistakes and "make it better", so I worry more...... but they seem to be doing just fine. For me, nothing I have accomplished in my life is more important than the job of parenting. It has been difficult at times, but I don't regret any of the struggle. I look at them now and I am amazed and delighted to see them grow into adult men. At the end of my life, I know it will be my greatest achievement. Enjoy every minute with your new baby!!! Marianne Mooney Rhoads CroninLane@aol.com ********** Christopher had to have tubes put in his ears Wednesday. (11 infections and 9 antibiodics in 6 months with no breaks in between) Anyway, for those who haven't been through this experience, it is much harder on the parent than the child. From the way they act, you would never know they had had surgery. Well, that evening we were having dinner and Christopher was ready to get down from the high chair. Then he said "mmmaaammma, mamma". Well, I will forever say that is what he said:-). ********** Although it may sound like a cliche, I suspect that when you have your child you will immediately think of a million great reasons why you had him/her. . .It's a little late for ambivalence now, isn't it? But seriously, I have two and they are the greates things in my life, bar none. yes, they are a lot of work. yes they can be frustrating, yes they take time and energy and money and time and time and energy and time. But, as a fiction writer, friend, wife, daughter, etc., nothing is more rewarding than being a mother. Besides, if you do a good job as a parent just think of what you have offered to the world: a healthy, happy not screwed up adult. What a treat! GIve it a whirl (you have no choice about now anyway! might as well give it your best shot.) You will always have doubts, that is natural, but it is a wonderful thing, being a parent. Honest. ********** I'm not normally the sentimental type but... Having busied myself tidying Alex's bedroom I drew the curtains. I then turned and decided to shake some creases out of his duvet. As I pulled the duvet it disturbed his music box, in which he has shown renewed interest and had left in his bed. The mainspring had just enough twist in it to play one final note. There, in the halfdark of the room a single plaintive ping cut through the silence, and I experienced a moment of great stillness. Then I thought of my son, and how much I loved him. I choked up with emotion and my eyes grew moist. BCNU, Gordon PS Good luck for next month Avern. ********** Hi! I have a two year old son named Joel and while I went through a lot of problems in the first year, colic and allergies and ear infections, the second year was absolutely delightful. Just the things he says and the wonderful physical closeness and affection we share makes it all worthwhile. I have taken to recording some of his sayings so that I don't forget them. LIke "I never get a rest" and " I can't fly, I have no wings" and his prayers are just incredible "Thank you God for rainbows and sunshine and the Twist." or"thank you God for picking my nose." I even know people who have enjoyed the infant part. Read all you can about parenting and health. Watch out for cow's milk ( a lot of kids are allergic) and read alternative material on vaccinations before you give them to your baby. From Lynda Trono on the computer of Jane Matthews ********** People have listed so many of the positive things about having children, and they are so right about all of them. To me, the most positive thing about having children is something I can't articulate. It's the depth of love you feel that words can't really describe, at least I can't. It's nothing like the love you feel for your husband or parents. To me it's a gift from God - that pure love that nothing else can touch. I don't think I could have ever experienced such an emotion without my children, and I'm very thankful every day, no, every hour of every day. I hope you find that, too. Macy Coffey Washington & Lee University Law Library Lexington VA 24450 ********** --The first time my baby grabbed his toe and smiled at me. --When my baby holds his arms out to me, I pick him up, he snuggles against my neck and cuddles. (The baby breath is a plus too.) --The peacefull sound of his breathing while he sleeps. -----The absolute GREATEST!--- When he is sitting on my lap, cocks his head and looks at me with love radiating from his sweet face. --- * OLX 2.1 TD * Vdischner@proom.com ********** [Here's an offshoot thread on the same topic.] This has been a truly delightful thread on misc.kids and I've noticed that various other people have enjoyed it, too. For someone like me, though, who is still sitting on the fence of decision about whether to have children or not, this is not only great fun to read, but really *needed*. For years, I have tried to get parents to tell me the specifics of why they like having kids, but it has been very hard to get answers that were something I could understand. Since I don't have kids, I don't really understand what I consider to be extreme statements like "my children are angels" or "If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't!" (said by more than one parent who has more than one child--truly puzzling to me). However, I *can* imagine the joy in having a little one look up at you with wonderment as he puts his hand in yours or the baby who gives you a great big smile just when you need it most or the older child who is all excited by the book you gave her for Christmas that was *just* what she wanted. Since I am the youngest in my family, I have very little experience with children, particularly babies and toddlers. I'm not *bereft* of experience, but sure no expert, either! There are lots of kids in my new neighborhood and I do make a point of getting to know as many as possible, but most of them are 7 year old girls or 10-12 year old boys, so my knowledge is heavily slanted. They are also not interested in the level of interaction that approaches what one has with a family member, much less a parent. (These kids and I have gardened, talked--both silly and serious, played cards and gone sledding together, but it is still highly limiting.) Thank you in advance for any more stories, even if you have already posted on this topic. Please, though, no flames for being indecisive on this issue! --Nancy Reynolds ********** Nancy Reynolds asked for more stories. Since I didn't comment the first time, I will now. I think what I like most about being a parent is watching a little person grow from a totally helpless infant to an ever-increasingly independent person. I was just talking with my friend Betsy whose little girl is going to turn 1 in a few weeks and we were again remarking on the amazing things Emily has done this past year. She can stand alone for a minute or so at a time, she has a word or two, etc. And my daughter Emma (2.3) has been going through some amazing developmental changes these past few months too, particularly in the area of vocabulary. Last night she and I conversed for about an hour and her conversation was clear and logical (well, at least logical to a 2 year old mind :). She also stunned me yesterday by pointing out the letter "E" (in her Barney book of course... <shudder!> :) and saying "Emma name!" and then the letter "D" and saying "daddy name!" My mouth fell open! I knew she could recognize her name when spelled out but I didn't know she could pick out the individual letter "E" when in an entirely different word! I am looking forward to more developments in the future too. Watching her learn is one of the neatest things in the world. BTW, Nancy, before Emma was born I felt in my mind that I'd like to have a baby but I really didn't know all the specific reasons. And for the first few months of Em's life I really didn't feel that "bond" that some people say they feel right from the start. But now...I am shocked at the depth of my feelings for her. I would do anything for Emma :) Having kids is scary. Sometimes I don't like being the mommy. Sometimes I want *my* mommy :) Sometimes I feel over-whelmed when I realize that I am totally responsible for another human being. Sometimes I make mistakes. But overall, all-in-all I really would not trade it for anything in the world. The best thing I think for me to remember is that Emma and I will grow together. When she was a baby I needed only the skills to take care of her then. She taught me about herself (how she liked to be held, how she liked to be entertained, etc.) and she has continued to do that since. I've read child development books and, of course, sought the advice of all you other experienced parents out there in misc.kids-land, and these really help. But ultimately, Nancy, you will know your child (if you have one :) the best and you will gain the skills you need! Best wishes with your decision, Lynda, proud mom to Emma Rose, 2.3 ********* The problem is, since you don't have kids, you can't possibly *really* understand what it's like TO have kids before you do it. I know that's an obvious statement - but it's so true. I can look back and now see that I had no clue what it was like to be a parent. It's just a feeling that is not really describable. I certainly do NOT say, "If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't do it." I'm SOOOOO glad I did do it (but then, I never really ever had any questions about whether to have kids or not). And this is not to say that I'm a "natural", because I don't think I am. I was never really *drawn* to babies and other people's children before I had kids. |> However, I |>*can* imagine the joy in having a little one look up at you with |>wonderment as he puts his hand in yours or the baby who gives you a great |>big smile just when you need it most or the older child who is all excited |>by the book you gave her for Christmas that was *just* what she wanted. Well, I don't know if you can *really* imagine. :-) I know you can imagine that it would be great, but the "great" that it is is so much better than what you can imagine, that you can't imagine it!! :-) :-) Now, was that clear?!? :-) My first child, a son, died about a year and a half ago, at age 23 months (of leukemia). I remember once thinking, would it have been better if Aaron had not survived at birth or something like that? He was a preemie, and had troubles in early life. And the answer is a resounding NO. The immense pain of losing him does not outweigh the immense joy of having him. Sometimes it's hard to focus on the joy, since I am left with the pain as the last event of his life. I don't know if that helps, but the feelings I have for my children overwhelm me daily. I think about my own mother differently. I feel very bad for times I made her worry. It must be the hardest thing to let your children grow up and make their own way and decisions. I'm so involved now with my daughter, that it already makes me ache to think of "letting her go." Now, maybe that sounds bad, but it's really not. It's no lie that by becoming a parent, you do set yourself up for possible pain. I've often thought about the unconditional love your child has for you. It's so pure, and so wonderful. |>Thank you in advance for any more stories, even if you have already |>posted on this topic. Please, though, no flames for being indecisive on |>this issue! Don't worry - no flames here. It's something you should definitely think about! I realize for some people, they just always know, but there's nothing wrong with thinking long and hard about it. I highly recommend it, though! Terrie Linker Mama to Aaron Keith (6/29/91-6/3/93) and Katelyn Suzanne (5/4/93) ********** Hi! Hey, any opportunity to talk about my kid, I'll take! Here are highlights of today, a typical day in many ways... Kian's face lighting up as I walk in his room... Kian doubled over laughing as his bee puppet buzzes in, grabs his ball, and buzzes off, only to return and drop the ball off again in his hands... Kian saying "Bah!" (=ball), "waddat?", "On!" (=turn the fan on) -- about the extent of his vocabulary, but oh how I love it... Kian toddling up to give me a hug, and saying "Awwww"... Kian putting his arms around my neck and falling asleep... There's nothing like it, nothing at all. Take care! - Bill -- Bill Ivey bivey@k12.ucs.umass.edu ********** : There's nothing like it, nothing at all. Yes, yes, yes! I became pregnant quite unexpectedly at 40 after being told for years that I could not conceive. I had never wanted kids, being a career oriented "workaholic." But now... What I never could have known before: a child is not a "child" but a real person. That sounds a bit naive, but I never understood that until Maggie, and now every day I delight in getting to know this real person who has come to live with me, the way she thinks about the world, the way she cares about me. One night when we were driving home, I got lost. I kept making wrong turn after wrong turn, and I was starting to panic. Maggie was sitting quietly in her car seat, and suddenly she said, "Don't cry Mommy, it's okay." She was only 22 months then, and it just keeps getting better. I never had any idea I could feel so deeply. Nancy ********** They make you laugh at the most unexpected times, and things. The other day Jeremiah hit his head (lightly) on the chair. He came up rubbing his head and my friend asked him if he was okay. He said "Yeth, I guess so." and that was the end of it. I laughed because that's what *I* always say when I hurt myself. -- Kandi Hopkins, Columbus, OH kandi@infinet.com ********** >... >Thank you in advance for any more stories, even if you have already >posted on this topic. Please, though, no flames for being indecisive on >this issue! > A flame for being indecisive on this issue? No chance! This is IMHO THE most important decision which you are ever likely to make in your life, so take as much time making up your mind as you need. Babies are the most wonderful beautiful splendid little creatures, but very few parents would say they are easy or that they don't change your life. So... if you're not ready for them or don't truly want them... you're in big trouble! (BTW, we waited four years before deciding we'd like a baby and promptly had one 9.5 months later, so I can't say anything about the difficulties which can happen through waiting a long time and then having difficulties conceiving.) Lesley Harkin lcooke@bfsec.bt.co.uk ********** I just had to add this to this. For months when I pick up the boys in the evening, I always make a point of asking how the day was, what they did, etc. Well, this week Alex has taken to being first with "Mom, How was your day?" or "did you have a good day". Makes me smile no matter what the day was like. The first time he did this to his dad, dad melted. He also has taken to telling us "have a good day" as we leave or "don't be long" when we leave the room. Billie mom to Alex 3yo and Christopher 8mo ********** I think the hardest part of describing why having children is so great to non-parents is most of the time its the continuous small things you smile or laugh at, but can't remember the exact details later, or in trying to describe what happened, the moment gets lost in the translation. Oh, there are the obvious, discrete events, like Limo crawling into bed in the morning with me, wanting a hug for now apparent reason, comments from the back seat of the car that almost cause me to drive off the road laughing or in amazement, the birthday cake covered face, that smile when he did something he isn't sure he should have done, watching him finally get a concept or idea with which he has been struggling. These are the types of things non-parents seem to somewhat understand. But to me, these are just small brief snapshots of the whole process. For the most part, its all those things I can't really describe or remember exactly that really makes being a parent so truly, wonderfully great. ben father to Limo (4 yo) ********* I have a 16month old and I would say that one thing that makes all the sacrifices and hardships worth going through is - I get undivided love from my son. He seems to love us no matter what we do!!!! Even though I leave him for 8 hrs during the day, he is always eager to see me in the evenings. He gives me a nice smile and a big hug as soon as I go home. That always makes my day!!!! Sometimes I really wonder how babies can love somebody without any expectations!!!!! ********** Hi! I have just 2 things to add, not that anything necessarily needs to be added, you guys have done great! One of my favoirte part about having kids is that I get to be a bit of one myself again. I get to play with great toys, I particularly love legos and new crayons, I get to go to the zoo a lot, I get wonderful Happy Meal toys from Mac Donald's and christmas was never be this fun when I was getting things! It is also a great way to become a better person. Giving of myself and my time and sleep and creativity was never so rewarding. I can't imagine any "boss" giving such sweet kisses and hugs(g). Not that they are the boss. I thought I was a good, giving person BEFORE I had kids, I almost think I must be Mother Theresa now! Congrats out there! Lora Payne, Mother to Sarah-6, Thomas-4,Nathan-2, and Graham-7months. ********** Or how about the first time they climb up on your lap, lay there head against your chest, look up into your eyes and say "I Love You Mama!" It WILL melt your heart!! :-) Also, I can't imagine anyoune except maybe my parents loving me so unconditionally regardless of how grumpy I've been all day or how many times I've said no that day. Nothing can ease the stress of a really rough day like the hug and kiss of your little one no matter what their age (at least to date). Kim (Mommy to Beth 12/21/89, Matt 11/12/92 and ? due 4/28/95) ========================================================================== Richard & Kim Cornwell skyvis@shell.portal.com ********** Legos! I've just rediscovered Lego this year and they're even more fun than before. If you look at rec.toys.lego, you'll be suprised at the number of adults who "play" with Lego. If only I could get the Lego gears that I used to have years ago. :-) Also, some of the Happy Meal toys are really neat. My absolute favorites are the transformers that transform from hamburgers, french fies, shakes, and Happy Meal boxes into dinosaurs. My son had a bunch of them in his toy box and since he didn't play with them after so long and since they were getting worn out in the toy box, I decided to move some of them into a safer place (i.e. my office :-). Unfortunately, at one point Marc saw them in my briefcase and asked, "Hey Dad, why are my Happy Meal toys in your briefcase?" And this happened in front of his mother! All of a sudden I felt like the Grinch. Other than that, I agree that being a parent can make you a much better person. And it gives you a role in life and a great reason for being. Bruce Giese Marc's Dad ********** [Responding to the previous.] YES YES YES except with us it went the other way--we got these in our pre-child days, and they went to work with Bill. Then, one day, he happened to bring them home, and then-6-month-old Shana glommed onto them like a magnet to metal. "For Children Over 3," humph. Jo Pitesky pitesky@bonnie.astro.ucla.edu ********** [Also responding to Bruce Giese.] Hey! have you peeked into my closet or something? I have 6+years worth of Happy Meal toys stashed in a big box. We call them the "sick toys" and they come out ONLY when someone is really sick and needs something they can do while resting. That way we lose fewer(g). I decided I was truly psycho when I organised them all by type last week (croup week around here) and put them into zip locks. Funny coincidence, I had just disovered the online LEGO area tonite, after going out and buying 2 more sets as rewards for my kids today. My theory on toys is: buy stuff both parent and child like, so you can play together! much more fun! We have LOTS of legos now(g). Lora Payne ********** I could go on all day about the good things about having kids, but here are a few of my favorites: 1. Having an excuse to wear silly hats and walk down your street on New Year's Day blowing horns and throwing streamers. 2. Listening to your child sing "Zipadeedooda" ! 3. Watching your child at "Tumble Bunnies" gymnastics classes. 4. Watching your child learn or experience anything new. One of our new things this year was discovering how much fun you can have in the snow. 5. Having someone say "Mommy - I gotta secret", and, when you bend over to hear the secret, he whispers "I love you !" 6. Watching how your child is learning to be a nurturer. He puts his bear to bed as gently and lovingly as I do him! As a friend of mine once told me: "Just do it" ! Kids are the best thing ever ! Judy Smith Mom to Erik, age 3.75 ********** Avern, Although everyone has already described (and beautifully) things that in essence can't be put into words, I'm going to put into my 2 cents. When I look into my daughter's eyes (she's 18 months old) I cannot remember not knowing her little self, not knowing her expression. She came from us full-blown, a human being, with her own likes and dislikes that were not at all what I, her control-freak mother, had planned for her. Living with her is an honor as I am able to watch the development and flowering of a life. People told me when I was pregnant that it was hard work having children but that there were rewards here and there that made up for it. So far, I think the reward side far outweighs the work side. Before I had my baby, I used to sweat the small stuff. I used to look at my own navel (metaphorically) for sheer lack of other things to do. Motherhood has had the added benefit of taking me away from a selfish/self-centered life. Some people would call that sacrifice but I call it redemption. ********** [Added after reading the _whole_ file so far:] this is a very eloquent file of things about the joy of children as a mother of three, i agree with everything said. they're a chance to renew your own zest for life - i love disney movies, piles of fallen leaves, sidewalk chalk, going for a car ride, playing on the swings, the first flowers of spring, my best friend (my three kids - Chelsea (6), Dayna (3.5), and Tegan (22 months) - all girls), that first lick of ice cream.....etc. go forth and multiply... debra wingfdeb@hamcivhos.on.ca ********** [An original poem on the subject. Please don't reproduce the poem without attribution.] > A Mother's Life > by > Kellee A. Beaufait > > >Reflections show the hairs of gray, > the wrinkled face, > the baggy eyes. > > Movements slow to a shuffling walk, > with quavering hands, > and aching bones. > > Sleep becomes a forgotten event, > a stolen luxury, > an impossible dream. > > Intimacy yields to restless nights, > with soiled linens, > and warmed milk. > > But ... > > Hearts swell in wondrous joy, > with Baby cradled > in Mama's arms. > > Exhaustion fades with first smiles, > and first steps, > and first words. > > Adventures abound in fields of grass, > and castles of sand, > and blocks of wood. > > Golden rainbows fill every day > a Mother watches >her Child grow. [The following comments were added by people who'd read the stuff above. Profuse apologies for taking so long to add them.] ********** One good thing is that having kids and dealing with their growing and with their friends and the friends parents are what cause a parent to develop understanding and maturity. People without kids have a great life, that's obvious, vacations are the first thing that come to mind. But after a few years you realize that the parentless ones have less depth of feeling just because they haven't shared the innumerable experiences that parents have. Another good thing is that when they grow up and move away, you realize that it all went too quickly. I know, I know, it seemed like they were in diapers forever! There are regrets then..."Why didn't I spend more time with them?" There is the reason to live each day for itself. Lastly, it truly is the best when one becomes a grandparent and is able to share time, love and closeness with a grandchild. Try to encourage your children to live somewhat near you so that you can experience this uniquely pleasurable togetherness. In the meantime hang in there. It's not easy. It's especially not easy seeing yourself become your parents, saying and doing the things you swore you would never do when you became a parent. It is your parents revenge. Enjoy and find time for yourself. Children do NOT need your every waking moment. Margaret elliotm@ix.netcom.com ********** [The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set] [Your display is probably set for the "US-ASCII" character set] [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly] As the mother of 4 month old Alex, one of my greatest pleasures is when he flashes me one of his great big drooly smiles while keeping 4 chubby fingers stuffed in his mouth. Also, When they stare at you mesmerized;the look of surprise on their face when they first grasp a rattle or teether; Watching them make 'sucking' faces in their sleep; Conversing with a baby beginning to coo; Their first vocal laugh; The look on their face the first time they find something in their bottle other than milk or formula. (I wish I had caught that one on film - Alex closed his eyes contentedly and took a couple of quick swigs of Apple juice. His eyes opened QUICKLY and a 'yuck' face appeared, then he decided he liked it and settled back with closed eyes again. If not too long, I'd like to share a favorite poem. Author unknown. MY GROWN UP CHILD My hands were busy through the day; I didn't have much time to play The little games you asked me to. I didn't have much time for you. I'd wash your clothes, I'd sew and cook, But when you'd bring your picture book And ask me please to share your play I'd say: "A little later in the day". I'd tuck you in all safe at night And hear your prayers, turn out the light. Then tip-toe softly to the door... I'd wish I'd stayed a little more. For life is short, the years rush past, A little child grows up so fast. They are no longer at your side, Their precious secrets to confide. The picture books are put away. There are no longer games to play. No good-night kiss, no prayers to hear... That all belongs to yesteryear. My hands once busy, now are still. The days are long and hard to fill. I wish I could go back and do The little things you asked me to. Enjoy them. They are most precious. Deb Sullivan ********** The biggest joy so far for me (my son is only 8 months) is when he sees me he has an unconditional excitment and he raises his arms to me to pick him up and when I do he just hugs me and looks around to whoever is there and looks at them as if he is saying, "this is my mommy". The hardest part of raising a child is leaving him all day since I work full time. Hearing him cry because he's got an upset stomach or his teeth are bothering him, but this is not negative it just proves to me that I love this little boy more than I ever new possible. Michele - mom to Jake - 8 mos ********** After 5 years of infertility, I have a 2 1/2 yr old daughter. The joy she gives me is beyond words. The way she laughs out loud when she sees Barney. How happy she is to see me when I pick up her up at daycare, and how she screams for joy when "Daddie" gets home. How she completely trusts me. How I cried when she took her first steps, and again when she called me Mommie. How I knew the minute I saw her that I would give my life for hers. Sarah ********** I was reading everyone's comments and thought I would add mine. I have a ten month old and chuckled when I read the note "If I could just get him to sleep through the night!" I wish the same thing but would never give up the smiles I get and the big hugs when I pick him up at the sitter's after work. What a thrill to have your baby run up to you with his arms wide open. That is the best feeling knowing someone loves and needs you. I wouldn't trade it for anything!!! teresa devint@pfizer.com ********** My brother-in-law David Wunderlin put it this way: Once you have kids, you finally can relate to how your parents felt about you. Total love, dedication, concern, and pride. ********** I have two, a four year old(Joanne), and a just turned one(August). The best thing about kids is watching them become themselves. Its like opening a Christmas present every day (and although no-one likes every present, isn't the anticipation wonderful?) The differences between the two are astounding, with development in different areas at radically different rates. I love helping Jo explore her interests (like cooking), and she loves helping her brother(making scrambeled eggs for him). Old familiar scientific facts are magic for them, and they let me see the wonder in the work one more time. Also they give me an excuse to watch kids movies and read kids books again, with the ability to edit out the drivel. ********** Avern, I can't begin to tell you how wonderful having children is... I gave birth to my fourth child in January...I was amazed and awed by the whole process,all over again. Miraculous just begins to explain it... My oldest child is 6 1/2, the next 4 1/2 and I have one turning 3 this month...3 boys, 1 girl...each of them so different...I am over worked and underpaid (being a stay at home mom) but the benefits are far better than any corporation could provide. I have 4 precious lives to protect and nurture. It is the scariest job anyone could have told me I'd ever have. Everyday brings a multitude of challenges...we conquer them together, as a family. I have never felt such a love as I feel for my little ones. They are constantly amazing me with their brilliance, entertaining me with their talents and keeping me in awe with their unconditional love.I believe that if you are fortunate enough to have a child, you have been given the most precious gift and with that gift you need to do your best...Don't expect perfection on anyones part...Love them with your heart and soul...and send them into the world knowing that they are the key to the future and the link to the past. Some days seem impossible to get through but I promise you will survive... Happy spring (FINALLY!) Molly (Gus, Alex, Jake and Will's mom) ********** Just read through comments about having kids and some made me cry!! I never thought I was that sentimental but having kids is the best thing I done in life. I used to think my cat was tops but when they put my babies in my arms, I said "Cat, what cat?" I still love my cat but I love to watch my sleeping children. As I look down on their angelic faces, sometimes I cry with such immense wonderment. Gods precious miracles sent to me or any parent for that matter. Always remember that they learn from you, the parent. Their beliefs, attitudes, everything comes from you in the beginning so do your very best to set them in the right path for a positive rewarding life. When days seem frustrating or their questions are never ending, always, always put yourself in their shoes before getting upset-they see this world as exciting and something to explore. Be patient and understanding and give unconditional love no matter what. I wonder why I waited so lomg to bring this joy into my life!! Carolyn db15458@ltec.net ********** [The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set] [Your display is probably set for the "US-ASCII" character set] [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly] it is 1000 times easier that I thought it would be and I get to go to the beach in the middle of the week. ********** I have 2 kids and love them dearly. But life is not without its problems. My oldest daughter is hearing-impaired. Marianne has just turned 6 and leads the same kind of life as any other 6-year-old does. But her life also consists of therapy (she is bilingual- speech and sign), doctors, audiologists and a lot of extra work with her mother and me. She's taught me a lot. Her ability to remain calm in the face of all these things shows how adaptable kids are. They are able to accept the ups and downs of everyday life without getting into a lot of angst over "Why me?" and all that. With apologies to the shoe company, she 'just does it'. If we all had the same view of life that most kids have, we'd be a lot better off. We could laugh more (a child's uninhibited laughter is one of life's great joys), hate less, and who knows? I might even be able to hit the curveball. Doug Stephens dstephen@tse.com ********** What fun!! The good things about having kids is being Grandpa & Grandma Chuck & Rhoda ********** FOR ALL: JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE, JAK'S DADA AND BEST FRIEND ********* One of the best things about having kids is having your 2 yr old daughter come up to you, place one hand on each cheek, pull your face in for a kiss and say "Love you, Daddy". Steve. -- | | | | | | Stephen Wales | Internet: stephenw@mincom.oz.au