stop the clock!

So I was sitting in a cozy living room with some dear friends the other evening, and the topic of “How Children Change Your Life” came up. The gals in the room were all married, and a little over half of us are mamas. One of the sweet Not-Yet-Moms hesitantly expressed some concern that once she has kids (and she definitely wants one or some) her life will pretty much be over.

“But,” she added, “my husband said that, from what he could tell, you guys [pointing to us moms] seem to like your kids okay.”

We all assured her, that apart from those of us who might not have liked our screaming, squalling, colicky babies as much as a “good” mom should, that yes, we like our kids okay.

I took it a step further. “I like my kids a ton,” I said. “Like a lot. Like they’re some of my best friends.” And I meant it. And while I don’t want to be one of those moms whose world revolves around her children’s every happiness (mine revolves around my own every happiness. kidding. kind of. working on that), where was I? Oh, yeah. I’m not going to bend over backward so my kids will like me and want to be my friend.

But, at least for the moment, my girls are my friends. (Friends that I boss around and yell at for not picking up after themselves.) We like each other. We like spending time together. They make me laugh. Like really hard. They are smart and witty and sensitive and sweet and moody and pouty and fun.

They’re 9, 8 and 4, and I absolutely love this stage of their lives. Oh, I’ll have occasional twinges of missing their baby/toddler days. Like nursing and tiny toes and baby jibber-jabber. But not enough to go back (what’s that you say? not even an option? oh, okay.) And apart from the nursing thing, if I ever need some kind of a baby fix, my friends are popping them out like candy, and they’re always willing to share.

Amy’s darling little 6-month-old Gregor likes to flirt with me and bury his head in my shoulder. And I’ve gotten to cuddle with Amanda’s yummy baby Jace several times since he was born in July.Β  And then I give him right back.

So now more than any other time in my life, I would like to stop the clock please. Nobody in diapers. Nobody in double-digits (for 3 more months). Nobody with drama (ha!). It’s beautiful.

And it’s not going to last very long.

Because nothing calm and peaceful ever does. (And if I’m honest, our girls are really not all that calm and peaceful. But if I’m even more honest, the times they drive me the most bonkers, it’s usually a result of my own selfishness.)

As I sat on my bed last night with my three sweeties gathered around me, taking turns reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible… Okay, let me press pause on that perfect little scenario for a sec, lest you start mentally bestowing honor upon me that I don’t deserve. I haven’t read out loud with my girls before bed in a painfully long time. Months. Or read the Bible (or Bible book, whatever) with them for even longer. I felt a very, very strong need (Holy Spirit) last night to start back up again.

So there we were on the bed, and I had every intention of reading a story myself when Livi asked if we could take turns. Livi likes to read but is not a huge fan of curling up and silently reading a book. She loves to read out loud though. Much like her mother at her age, she is in love with the sound of her own reading voice (I’m mostly over that myself).

I said sure and even decided to let Nina in on the action. And this is the part where I go off on a bunny-tangent. Nina will be 5 in January and has a very strong desire to learn things, reading especially. And here’s the tangent. I’ve talked about this before, but I might as well admit it again. I hated being “smart” when I was in school. I came home one afternoon after a miserable day in 6th grade and bawled my eyes out on my bed while my mom tried to comfort me. Kids were making fun of me for being smart, and I hate, hate, hated it.

Fast forward to having children of my own. While most mothers around me were doing everything they could to make sure their infants had educationally-appropriate toys and were pre-enrolled in college prep pre-schools, I was praying that my kids wouldn’t be smart.

Some of my friends find great delight in this story (AM, I’m talking to you!).

Another tangent. We have 3 girlies. They are all very different from each other. Yet 2 of them (the bookends) are much more alike than the cutie in the middle. The book ends are a little nerdier and more perfectionistic. The middle one is a social butterfly of a different color.

So the plan was to send them off to kindergarten without knowing a blessed thing. Then no one would make fun of them for being smart. (Please no comments. I can see my faulty/selfish line of reasoning for what it is now, thank you.)

It didn’t really work out with #1. She figured out the letters/numbers/reading thing in a heartbeat. And yes, has been made fun of (or at least pointed out) for being smart.

#2? She’s the one who got the shaft for me projecting my childhood angst on my own kiddos. She didn’t know any of her letters when she went to kindergarten (none of my girls have gone to preschool) and she struggled for quite awhile. Then in first grade, it suddenly clicked. And she loves to read the most of all my girls. And she does it very well. Spelling is another issue entirely, but what is spell check for, right?

And #3? Shoot. Her sisters play school with her all the time, and she can already read a little. As she took her turn in the Jesus Storybook Bible (looooooove this book, and I think I’ve posted about it before), I expected her to know a few words (a, the, did, saw) and I would just tell her the rest.

Um, okay, so she read the entire paragraph and the only word she didn’t know was “certainly.”

And that’s when I KNEW that it was time to stop the clock. And actually, I’ve been telling Little One that for quite awhile now. Stop growing, stop acting like you’re 10, stop having half-birthdays, stop reading 9-letter words.

Anyway. I’m way over my word count and I can’t even remember if I made the point I set out to make. And Little One herself is BEGGING me (for the 13th time) to play another game of Sorry. (For crying out loud. Will you hold on a stinking minute? Can’t you see that Mommy is busy writing a 1200-word blog post about how fast you’re growing up and how she doesn’t want to miss a single second of it?)

Question for you: In your current stage of life, do you find yourself wanting to stop the clock or fast forward a bit? And why?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts! Happy Weekend!

42 thoughts on “stop the clock!

  1. Elizabeth

    I’ve cried major tears the last few months over the fact that my kids are growing up so fast. I almost have a teenager! And the toddler is at the most precious age, I just want to keep her here forever. My 7-year old is not at my favorite age (at least for a boy), but there are still things every single day that make me just want to hug and kiss all over him. He can be so charming. So, I want to stop the clock. Well, maybe get this baby out and a few months old, then stop the clock. My kids and I have so much fun together and I want to soak up every second.

  2. Ellen R.

    I’ve loved reading these comments! My husband and i are honestly really, really, really struggling with whether or not to have children.

  3. Melanie

    I would loved to pause my kids 6, 4, and 2. Once Luke is potty trained fully! My oldest has lost her toddler look and the second one is losing it fast too. I just keep kissing those chubby cheeks as long as I can.

  4. Jennifer

    I love four and three, even more than I loved three and two. Every time they hit an age where I think I want them to stay there forever, they grow a little more, and I decide THAT is the new best age!

  5. Kelly

    There are days when I want to stop, days when I want to rewind, and days when I want to fast forward. But really, I just want to keep going at this click. Sometimes it feels as if life has zoomed by. And I’m OK with that. But mostly…I just want to keep on trucking. I don’t want to hold on to the past because I know I’ve got good things to come in theg future…and I don’t want to pause, because too much of a good thing can get old…so…let’s keep on truckin…

  6. Christy @ pureMotherhood

    STOP THE CLOCK! I’ve told Emmett, from about the time he was a few months old, that he HAS to stop growing. I can’t stand that I can’t remember what it was like to hold him as a baby. And now my 2nd baby is almost ONE YEAR OLD! ::CRY:: Somebody, PLEASE, stop the clock.

    “(For crying out loud. Will you hold on a stinking minute? Can’t you see that Mommy is busy writing a 1200-word blog post about how fast you’re growing up and how she doesn’t want to miss a single second of it?)”

    I hear ya. How many times could I have written something similar?!

  7. O Mom

    I want the clock stopped! I miss my little babies/toddlers so much……trying to keep my eyes on the future though and invisioning amazing relationships with 3 beautiful women!

  8. Kristy

    A little of both. My oldest just started kindergarten, stop the clock. I just had a baby a month ago, fast forward a bit. My four year old is speech delayed, fast forward a bit. And my almost two year old? fast forward a bit and stop the clock!

    I try to remember to tell myself that I’m going to miss this! And then my four year old throws another screaming fit and I think, Liar!

  9. Kamrie

    Well I would definitely like to fast forward a couple of years. Being the baby of the family, (and yes I say that with pride) I desperately want to grow up so that I may travel and do all of the things that don’t really involve high school. If I could fast forward it would be to 21 years old so that I can pursue something I am really passionate about without worrying about a lit analysis paper that is due the next day. However, my parents aren’t really happy to hear all my big plans especially since once I am all grown up that will confirm them being old. So I guess God is giving us a somewhat happy medium but not for long!

  10. Kelli

    PS – Confession, I finally bought Radical. I was stallling and making up reasons that I didn’t have time. BLAH BLAH BLAH. I knew that meant I needed it. The lady at Mardel said their boss gave it to all of them to read, it was that great.

  11. Kelli

    Heeheehee… “Friends that I boss around…”

    I find myself wanting to stop the clock. I find myself picturing C going to college and getting married and then I sit on the couch and do the ugly cry. But I can’t stop the clock, so I am soaking it in, second by ticking second! πŸ™‚

  12. Christine

    Oh yes, yes and yes! My girles are 6 and 4 and this is just absolutely a fabulous time with them. They’re still innocent and yet getting so smart, both book smart and life smart. It’s fun to watch them become the people they’re becoming, as you said without (much!) drama yet. And now that school is in again and they’re all up in each others’ business all day long, they’re starting to like wacho other again and not make each other (and me!) totally nuts. I would slow this time down in a heartbeat!

    And we LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible too. I gave it to my niece as a christening gift a few weeks ago. It’s probably the fourth or fifth I’ve gifted. It is wonderful! And in following the Compassion bloggers down in Guatemala I see that Ann Voskamp took a few of them in Spanish along with her and is handing them out to those sweet children. I can think of no better thing to leave those kids with than that Book! It’s been awhile though since our was off the shelf…you’ve inspired me to pull it off again and have my girlies read it to me!

  13. meghan @ spicy magnolia

    At lunch today I looked upon a group of teenagers and whispered into Brennan’s ears, “Sweet boy, you do not have to grow up fast.”

    The thought of him being any older than he is strikes a sharp pain in my heart. Some days lately, well, they’ve just been rough. The reality of the ticking clock weighs heavily on me at times though. I long to savor each moment, each stage. And honestly, if I look forward to all the other stages to come, I get so anxious! So I’d gladly stay where we are now. πŸ™‚

  14. Natalie

    LOL, I am so glad I found your blog! This post has the perfect mix of humor and sentimentality and isn’t that motherhood???

    My three and 9, 6 and 4 and YES I want to stop the clock, too. (Except when I am trying to blog, read blogs, play on FB, etc.)

  15. Sandy Cooper

    First of all…funny post. Especially the part about shooing your daughter away while you are writing a blog post about not wanting to miss a second of her childhood. That is me. Totally.

    Anyway, I fluctuate between wanting the clock to stop (kids ages 11, 9 and 3) and wanting maybe just to speed the clock up a bit on the 3 year old, while rewinding the clock on the 11 year old.

    But I’m like you…my kids are my favorite people. I love being with them. I just KNOW when they are all in school and the baby/preschool days are gone, I will miss it. I won’t miss the messy house, though. People say I will, but I absolutely REFUSE to believe I will miss the messy house. And if I do, I will deny it.

    Blessings,
    Sandy

  16. Melissa Irwin

    My oldest is 21 and I totally need him to be 12 again. But I don’t think you offered reversing the clock, as an option.

    I would beg for the clock to stop on my 3 and 5 year olds…. there is such joy up in this house I can’t stand it. I’m giddy. One is in kindergarten with great teaching going on, but no homework, and so life seems so picturesque. My 3 year old has down syndrome and in a great pre-k, where again….things are quite nice. They both still love to snuggle with me and be showered in my kisses. Yep, just stop the clock.

  17. Stephanie your sister

    I’m tempted to want to fast forward every once in a while, wanting Mia to crawl and walk and talk, but mostly I want to hit pause.

    When you mentioned sort of missing the nursing and tiny toes and baby babble, it made me LOVE where I’m at right now. I love Mia’s little coos and squeals and sighs. I love kissing her chubby cheeks and chubby thighs and chubby hands. I love her (mostly!) toothless smile.

    I think I’m resting in the fact that she’s my first and when I get sad about her growing out of that precious stage, I’ll just get pregnant again! Hehe.

  18. Bethany Peters

    Right now is a stop-the-clock time for me. Isabelle just learned how to walk and I am living the easy life. She takes a 2-hour nap every afternoon and sleeps for 11 hours each night (most of the time). She is super cute to look at (I love putting her blond curls in pig tails), super cute to listen to as she jabbers non-sense words, she knows how to throw her own diapers away, and likes me to read stories to her. I want our family to grow, but I am enjoying this stage of getting sleep and having a child who eats grown up food and has her own personality. All that will change in about 5 months! But I want more kids so I am super-excited! Just enjoying the easy life for a few more months. πŸ™‚

  19. Kristen

    What a refreshing post…almost like the good old xanga days πŸ˜‰ I loved reading about your girls and the entire post brought a smile to my face πŸ˜‰ I can’t believe Numero 3 is reading…it feels like she was just a baby sitting at your kitchen table throwing her milk cup on the floor while we shared a quick bfast before I left for VA πŸ˜‰
    In most ways, I would stop the clock. I love where Landon is and Noah is so cute right now I could just eat him πŸ˜‰ Life with the kids is fairly uncomplicated and mostly enjoyable right now…just in time to add this third little munchkin πŸ˜‰

    1. Claudia Porpiglia

      I have no doubt that you will just roll right into handling a third munchkin…the hardest transition for most is between the first and second…Plus, you have two helpers! πŸ˜‰

  20. Megan@SortaCrunchy

    The ONLY time I’ve wanted to fast forward was when my oldest was a baby, but then when I began to realize how fast it was going, I stopped all that nonsense. I am constantly, constantly wanting time to slow down, to stop, to let me savor it all.

    Like you, though, we’ve got lots of babies around all the time so it’s easy to get my baby fix. I do love those little bitties!

  21. Marla Fletcher

    Hmmmm hard question. I love my 4 and 2 year old but also really really miss that baby stage. But DO NOT miss the lack of sleep with an infant. We were married 5 years ago this month and didn’t want ot wait to have kids in case we couldn’t, etc b/c we were older when we got married but now I wish we had taken at least a year or so to be by ourselves. We never really had that honeymoon stage. Married in September, first born came along in July the following year. I love where I am career wise b/c I am fortunate to work from home full time on my schedule. I have to watch myself saying to my kids too much “in a minute”. I put them off and I don’t want to do that b/c one day I may say that and I may never get them back again. I try to remember that Brinley is ONLY 4 and she does not need to conquer the world today. Letting kids be kids is very difficult sometimes. When I see them getting frustrated trying to be perfect, I know they get that from their parents, I get upset b/c I don’t want them to live like that thinking that everything has to be perfect. Oh the joys of parenting!

  22. joyce

    sorry for two posts…I didn’t see the first one but now realize they are top to bottom instead of the old way bottom to top. oops. Have a great weekend!

  23. joyce

    What a timely question…today just happens to be my youngest daughter’s 20th birthday. Here’s how I’m feeling at this stage of my life…I have loved every age and always think stop the clock. But God, in His infinite wisdom has given us something to love at every age. Today we leave the teen years behind at our house. I loved the teen years and think they get a bad rap. Oh sure, there are hard days and they can exhaust you mentally much like the physically exhausting days of toddlerhood but teenagers are such interesting creatures. I miss having teens and their friends in and out of my house. Now I have young adult children. I love that too and enjoy relating to them on a whole new level. So have fun with your girlies and relish their individual personalities… you can’t stop the clock but rest assured there is much to look forward to at every new stage. Well, with the exception of 7th grade, but other than that its all good.

    Word count? What’s that? : )

  24. joyce

    What a timely question…today happens to be my youngest daughter’s 20th birthday. Here’s how I feel at this stage of my life…I’ve loved every stage and always think-stop the clock. But God, in His infinite wisdom, provides something for us in every season with our children. Today we leave the teen years behind in our house. I have loved the teen years. I miss having teenagers and their friends in and out of my house. They get a bad rap and sure there are hard days and they are mentally exhausting in a different way than those physically exhausting toddler days, but teenagers are such interesting creatures. Now I have young adult daughters…a new phase. And I’m loving relating to them on a new level. Enjoy your girlies…you can’t stop time but no worries…there is lots to look forward to at every age. Except maybe 7th grade, but other than that it’s all good.

    Word count? What’s that? : )

    1. Bethany Peters

      Joyce, I don’t think I know you, but I absolutely LOVE hearing from parents like you! I love it when parents say that they loved every stage! I’ve had too many people tell me, “Just wait until…then you’ll be sorry”. I want to be happy and content at EVERY stage and people like you encourage me by letting me know it is possible!

  25. Becca

    I could have written this post. . . well, except that my little one is only 2 πŸ™‚ but I hated being smart too and feel the same way about my daughter – I have to remind myself not to live vicariously and to let Jayci live her own life . . . it’s so hard though!

  26. Amy

    I want to Gregory to stay this little forever. I have been saying this since he was born, really. I don’t want to wish any of him and what he doing or not doing away. But I am excited to watch him grow and learn…and to see what God has in store for him. I would imagine I will always feel this way. I am just so thankful that God has chosen us to be Gregory’s parents.

    1. Marla Taviano

      I’m thankful God chose you to be Gregory’s parents too, girl. Besides, it would be really funny if someone else was walking around with a baby that looked exactly like your husband. πŸ˜‰

  27. Holly

    Oh yes……I so want to stop the clock. I wonder how much longer it will be that we will seem fun and witty…..

    How much longer they will BEG to do things with us…..

    When they will want to stop being loved publically……

    I’m so grateful for the gift of two. THANK YOU, Lord for my blessings! πŸ™‚

  28. Ali

    Yes! It’s funny because I think my minis are at the perfect stage right now, at ages 1 and 2.5. Harper can walk and feed herself, but she still loves when I pick her up and snuggle her so it’s the best of both worlds. And though Henry has no interest in snuggling, he is completely independent and learning and saying and doing things that make me laugh the day away.
    I love that they already are their own little individual people, with actual personalities. But I can still carry them on my hip, reminding me that they need me which is something I never ever want to give up.

  29. Claudia Porpiglia

    My answer comes from a unique perspective and is “No!” I have the benefit of having an adult son (who just moved back home after completing college…makes this question interesting!) and an adult daughter who functions at the level of a toddler and requires total care. My hubby and I married when he was in his mid 30s and we decided to have children right away because “in 18 yrs or so we can do whatever we want)…NOT! Having seen one child progress at a rapid rate (yes Marla, my son was one of those “smart” kids) and one not seem to progress at all I would choose the first over the later any day. I don’t want things to slow down or speed up…I don’t want to miss the moments I have or the lessons they contain.

    I will admit that there are times when I wish things were different…for a moment. I wish my hubby and I could jump in the car and take off without having to worry about who will care for Tina and what may happen while we are gone BUT I would not trade the journey God has put us on for that privilege!

  30. Emma

    I am tempted to want to fast-forward just a little. Infant + a toddler is sometimes a hard equation for me. But I know that for sure, once we are out of this stage, I will look back on it longingly. It’s a constant dance around these sorts of tensions I think!

  31. Sarah M

    I want to stop life right now. I’m hanging out and having fun with family, and Cameron is at such a fun, semi independent but not overly sassy age (almost 3) . I hate that time flies by so fast. In less than 3 months Cam will be 3 and we’ll have another little addition to our family. Trying to enjoy the small things in life and burn memories into my brain forever.

  32. niki hughes

    Marla, I, too, want to STOP the time & just freeze everything. Our girls are 12 & 9 & I ab-so-lute-ly love it. We can play a game together, laugh at the same things (at ourselves – which I love seeing in my kids, that they CAN laugh at themselves, & we laugh at each other, too), and enjoy a (somewhat) meaningful conversation, we don’t have to pack up the house to go on a trip – it’s easier to be spontaneous now, we go & see movies together, like Toy Story 3 & each one of us enjoys it, and so important…we are all tall enough to ride all the rides!! (If the girls decided they actually liked roller coasters, this part would be even better, but we have hope that they will change their minds). All 4 of us like to read, and sometimes I read aloud to the girls, but sometimes…I love these times…we all end up in the living room, each with a book. love love love these times!

    This was good food for thought. Thanks! Niki

  33. Jen Hanson

    I’m weird (or maybe not, I don’t really know) in this area. I want babies right now, but I also REAAAAAALLLLY don’t want babies right now. I am really excited to have kids but I am also really in love with my “young married no kids” stage. So, in answer to your question (are rambling tangents a Yoder-family thing or something?), I want to speed up the clock and have kids, but then be able to rewind and not have kids. Can’t I just go back and forth? Isn’t there a rent-a-kid service anywhere? Oh right – watching other people’s kids so that THEY can pretend for a few hours to be “young married no kids.” That would work.

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