I was playing with Teagan today, just making her laugh and having fun with her, and I realized how differently I approach things with her than when the big kids were her age. When Haven was up all night screaming, I would get frustrated, but this week Teagie has been up two nights for most of the night, so I rocked her and sang to her and cuddled her. I was tired, and wished she would sleep, but I wasn't frustrated. When Brittan was a baby, she was not into playing. She liked to observe, which is how she is now, but I would try to engage her and she would not want to play. Teagan is pretty outgoing, but I see a lot of Britt in her, and when she doesn't want to engage, I work to encourage it. When Britt was little, I would let her just sit and watch, and I wish I had tried to work with her more, since she was very shy in her early years (she is NOT shy now so I guess it worked out). With Gray, I remember wishing some of the hard toddler days away, waiting for the nap or bedtime, and I find that with Teag, I miss her after bedtime and I look forward to getting her up from her nap, soaking up the strong hold she gets on my arm, the sweet smile she gives when I come to get her, and holding her warm, sweet little sleepy body close.
It isn't that I like or love Teagan any more than I did or do the big kids, it is not that she is not difficult sometimes, that she doesn't get crabby and cranky and throw fits, because she does. The difference is in ME. I am older than when I had Haven, Brittan and Grayson. I am more experienced. I see now that babies grow up into kids, and I see how that process happens each and every day. I look at those big kids and I am so proud of who they are in spite of me and my mistakes, and I know when I look at Teagan (and Finn when he comes) that I will make different mistakes with them, but I will do my best, every day. I understand now why many people wait until they are older to have children as their approach is so different, and I am thankful that I have had a chance to be a young parent to babies and an older parent to babies, because it lends a new perspective.
I am so very proud of my kids, all of my kids. I love that Ryan and I are on the same page with them, that we know what is important to us and what we hope for the kids. I am at peace with how we raise them, and believe that we are going to raise good adults, which was our intention. The process of raising children is one of evolution and growth, there are always new hurdles and changes and paths that must be chosen, but I never question that my children will grow into good, strong, ethical people who treat others as they want to be treated. I see great potential in the kids, I believe that they know right from wrong, and they that will not end up as many kids today do, self involved and full of a sense of entitlement that is only justified by their parents indulgence. I hope we keep them on this path, that they become all we hope for them, and we will fight for whatever is necessary to protect, educate and encourage them in their lives. Parenting is a huge responsibility, and one that should not ever be taken lightly, and I am so happy that we have been fortunate enough to be able to have five little souls to teach and love.