Older children/younger children

I think I’ve discovered that many parents of older children have a hard time relating to parenting young kids.

I notice this even in myself – I got spoiled by Wally being 4 and half when I had another baby. He was fairly independent as far as dressing, pottying, feeding, playing, etc. I could trust him not to break things, not to pick up dangerous things, not to shut his hand in the door, not to launch himself down stairs or jump off high surfaces (well, maybe not that last one, but I could generally trust him to land unhurt). I didn’t have to babyproof. He wouldn’t run away from me in public (though he might daydream and wander), and he generally would not throw fits in public. I didn’t have to bring drinks and snacks and toys with us everywhere we went because he’d learned about delayed gratification.

Enter Genna, and I find it’s a bit like culture shock to have to watch out for all that stuff again. It’s like I had forgotten what life was like with a very small child.

And it seems that parents of older kids also forget what it’s like with, say, a five year old. He cannot yet hold his own with a group of all older kids (particularly when they’re trying to ditch him). He doesn’t understand the rules of the game. He can’t read very well. His behavior is not going to be appropriate all the time. He will copy unsavory actions and speech, not realizing he shouldn’t. And he will have a very difficult time processing all the activity and keeping his motor revved down, because he is five years old. I think it’s easy to forget that, when you’re accustomed to pre-teens.


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