0 to 18 to Life – Sippy Cups Aren’t the Enemy

Related: 0 to 18 to Life: Best Laid Plans

How the Push and Pull of Motherhood Affects Us All (Even Celebrity Scientologists!)

My daughter was a year older than Suri Cruise when the tabloids started repeatedly commenting on pictures of the cute celebrity toddler who was still carrying a bottle – with nipple – at the age of

two-and-a-half. “Where is the sippy cup?!” the outraged “News of the-People-Stars-Weekly-Enquirer” screeched under pictures of Ms. Holmes dashing from black SUV to Scientology meeting,

holding Suri with the offending “baby” vessel of liquid.

Around the same time, I realized I was the only one still greeting my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter after her morning of preschool with a sippy cup of, uh, warmed milk. Twenty-two seconds in the

microwave to be exact. I felt a kinship with Ms. Holmes – if she (and that ‘she’ being Ms. Holmes or Suri) was not ready to move to a new spout, then damn the masses.

No one at TMZ or People will ever care what I am doing, but it reinforced to me that the period of time that our children have to be young and dependent and open to anything is so fleeting. So why are we

rushing it.

My daughter, J, just turned 4. E, our son, just turned 2. I am so excited about what is to come; first day of kindergarten, first (real) soccer game, her first sleepover, his first tennis game against

dad. I also know I’ve silently wished many mornings for them to JUST GROW UP ALREADY, especially in those first days of having two children under 2.

No one was sleeping, everyone was tired, and it was the middle of winter. It was dark when we got up and seemed to be dark again before our day had barely started. Some days it seemed we would never get

past all the hard parts of parenting. My husband and I would sink onto the (vomit-stained) couch at the end of a 16-hour-day of toddler tantrums, newborn nocturnal shifts and projectile vomiting sessions and

dream of a day when our kids would be teenagers and we would have to actually wake them up.

Our two-year-old still is not the best sleeper but lately, more often than not, we are getting a decent night of shut-eye. Now that those busy but often blissful early days (first belly laughs, crawl,

words) are behind us (I would love to go for a third, but my husband and I have discussed this ad nauseum and for us we will remain a tight-knit family of four), I am realizing that time really does pass by

quickly, and suddenly my little girl is heading to kindergarten, and my baby just started preschool two mornings a week. Now, I want everything to slow down.

At her preschool “graduation”, J walked confidently into the room full of parents, enthusiastically sang songs with her class, hugged her friends and made playdate plans of her own. “Mommy,

Mimi and Grace are coming over every day all summer!” What happened to the uncertain two-and-a-half-year-old I coaxed, coerced and cajoled into starting her first day of preschool a year and a

half ago?

When my two-year-old son only cried a few minutes on his first day alone at preschool this week, I was a bit taken aback. “He did great,” the lovely ECE teacher told me when I went to pick him

up 2 hours later. “He must have cried a few times,” I said assuredly, confident that my baby would not have adjusted well. After all, he had barely left my side in two years of life, of course he

would have been desperate without me. “No, no, just that first few minutes and then he really was fine the rest of the morning.”

As much as I want my son to adjust, my heart took a little beating. Even my baby is ready to move on without me (Er, at least twice a week for two hours and 15 minutes). Just as I am ready to slow things

down a little, life’s natural course is starting to speed things up.

So next time you see my son (who, yes, still loves to drink from his bottle with a nipple) or my daughter (Ok, so I still usually put on her shoes and socks for her and brush her teeth, even though she

can do it alone) hold the judgments. It’s just my way of keeping them close when I know they are getting closer to wanting to do it all on their own.

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