All The Things I Didn’t Fully Appreciate Until My Kids Weren’t Little Anymore

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Everyone tells parents of young kids to treasure those years, enjoy every moment because it flies by so fast. Of course we all know this is true and also that it’s really really hard to do while you’re wiping poo off the walls and wondering whether there is a musical toy haunting you in the basement closet and not really sleeping in more than three-hour increments for a decade-ish. But as a mom of two kids in the double digits, I can promise you that there are a bunch of perks to having little kids.

Yes, older kids can do things like walk themselves home from school and complete lots of chores we’re sick of doing, but there are some things I miss about having little kids. Not the baby gates blocking every doorway (I have permanent gate-height dents in both shin bones) or being unable to reach into certain drawers because of the child locks I still haven’t been able to figure out, but—trust me—there is plenty I wish I had appreciated just a bit more while I had it! Things like:

1. Regular playdates during which the kids AND the parents got to play with their friends.

2. They napped.

3. I napped when they napped.

4. I could have inappropriate conversations in front of them because they couldn’t spell.

5. At any time I could take a long, luxurious, deeeeeep inhale of their delicious natural smell because their armpits hadn’t woken up yet.

6. In their eyes, I could do no wrong no matter how wrong I was doing.

7. I didn’t have to steal, beg, or bribe for cuddles.

8. They went to bed hours before I did, so I’d get some kid-free time every day.

9. Always carrying a big, organized diaper bag meant I was prepared for anything at all times and (most importantly) never ran out of snacks.

10. Nobody knew where my cookie hiding spot was yet—nor could they have reached it if they did.

11. I regularly got to spend hours in the sunshine at the playground sipping coffee and watching them just be.

12. Bathtime. Is. Adorable. (And my kids actually got clean when I was involved in bathing them.)

13. Cheapo kids’ meals at restaurants made eating out when I didn’t feel like cooking a no-brainer.

14. My day revolved around what I needed to do, not the dizzying dynamic flow chart of children’s sports and after-school activities I try to navigate now.

15. Their feet were still sweet enough to bite. Good heavens those days are SO OVER OMG GET THOSE STINK BOXES AWAY FROM ME.

16. Having people small enough for me to easily herd is quite convenient: tuck one kid under each arm and off I went!

17. There’s just something yummy about a puppy-sized human.

18. Everyone had assigned (car)seats, so no fights about who’s sitting where every single damn time we get in the car.

19. Their favorite songs never had dirty lyrics they needed me to explain.

20. I could actually help them with their homework and do it correctly without Googling a single thing.

21. Little. Kid. Pajamas.