What is your favourite stage of a child’s development? Recently I have found myself saying to a lot of parents of babies and children of various ages “Ooooh I love this age…they are so….” I guess that is because there are aspects of all stages that I do love, and definitely some other aspects of certain ages that I find a little less endearing. Think 18 month old, who whilst adorably cute, at times can also be very frustrated by their complete understanding of the world around them but their often less than adequate language skills to match that understanding. Hence we are often left with points and grunts and squeals and tantrums as they try to get themselves understood. But today I am focusing on all the good stuff so I am going to outline what I love about certain ages and stages. So for those of you that have been there and done that then here is a moment to relive the preciousness, and for those yet to reach many of the milestones, then rejoice in all you have to look forward to.
Newborns: Whats not to love about a newborn? (remember I said I was keeping it positive so no talk of sleepless nights, mastitis and endless feeding) With their divine ‘I could eat you up’ smell, their wrinkly little bodies, their scrunched up hands, curled up bodies, cute woollen cardigans, adorable beanies to cover adorable heads and their ability to fall asleep anywhere and on anyone at anytime of day.
3-4 months: this is the stage I am at now with my baby and it is so divine. For me it is the time when they start sleeping through (sorry for those that don’t!) and start to progress from a smile to a laugh. They begin to recognise faces and voices and respond accordingly. They are no longer as floppy and an increase in neck strength means that people look a little less awkward when they cuddle them.
5-8 months: As my kids are generally slower to crawl this is a great stage as it means a little lump of chubbiness that pretty much sits stationary on a playmat. They will play with whatever you hand them and won’t have moved too far from where you left them by the time you have put on a load of washing. It is also my favourite age to photograph as again they don’t move as quick but they are usually so animated with their smiles and chuckles and bouncing and clapping.
9 – 18 months: And so begins the more adventurous stage as they begin to further explore the world around them. They start gaining independence (remember the positive spin so not talking about tantrums and refusal to allow anyone else to feed so the constant mess of yoghurt and hardening weet-bix all over the high chair). This stage is exciting as they begin to find their voice and make sounds that soon turn into words. They make the transition from stationary little blob to an energetic crawler that starts pulling themselves up on furniture. We relish in the excitement of first steps, and amaze at their progress to running, jumping and running some more. We start to see little personalities forming as they begin to make us aware of their likes and dislikes and we witness their individual natures and temperaments begin to shine through.
The Toddler : whilst renowned for the terrible two’s this time can be somewhat challenging but to keep with the positive spin…..this is a great time to watch our children grow in assertiveness and work hard toward achieving their goals. (think how persistant they can be for a chocolate at the supermarket) It is also a time when we can start having real little conversations. We can play at the park, kick a ball and paint a picture. This is the other age group I have at the moment and I am absolutely enjoying it so much. He is developing a keen sense of humour, knows exactly what he wants and doesnt want …but is still able to be coerced and bribed just a little!
Primary School Age: This age makes up the rest of my clan. I love that they really are growing in their independence. They can walk to school on their own, they can change a nappy, get drinks for their younger brother, hold the baby whilst I have a shower, do more chores around the house (ok so they are not just here to do work and help me out). By now the conversations are becoming a little more advanced and indepth as they begin to make sense of the world around them. They make you laugh with their individual personalities and sense of humour. They are still ok for a cuddle (just) and they have less toys around cluttering up the house!
The Teenager – Well I havn’t quite got there yet so I am leaving this one up to you my readers to let me know all the wonderful things about teenagers. (remember the positive spin!) I could try to imagine all the amazing moments I am in store for but would rather the more authentic descriptions by those that have lived or a living with teenagers now.
So there you have my wrap up of why I love each and every stage (thus far).
We are often focusing on ways to ease the struggles that each stage brings with it, but sometimes it is important to remember that more often than not these are just stages and before you know it they’ve moved on to the next. So whilst each age and developmental milestone will present their own challenges, remember to relish in each precious moment as they continue to race on through the ages.
Do you have a favourite stage of development or what is precious about what you are experiencing now?