I Wish I’d Given Birth To A Four-Year-Old

potato-babyI wish I’d given birth to a four-year-old.

I don’t mean this in the literal sense. That’s a mighty long gestation; even an elephant would faint at that kind of a pregnancy commitment. What I do mean is that the defenceless infant stage challenges me in ways that don’t tickle my fancy.

Now, the first three months are very potato-like. Your baby will cry, excrete things from various orifices, pass out, and wake at inopportune times (Which is every time, if memory serves. All I ever wanted was just one more hour of sleep). All those toys marketed for ages  0+? Yeah, that just means your newborn won’t die from exposure to it, not that there will be play. They couldn’t care less about that jingly dangle ball. Their benign indifference to that rattle you’re shaking could rival an aloof house cat. And you? They don’t care about you. They just want their needs met. At least, that’s how it felt to me.

Some people love their crying potatoes. And, I mean, yes, I did too. There’s a primitive protocol that, when your brain and hormones are firing on all cylinders, compels you to care for your new baby and love him. Even if you’re tired, even if you don’t want to right now, even if you’re scared. I didn’t exactly bond right away to my newborn, but I did get onboard with his needs at 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning, and if waking at ungodly hours doesn’t show love, then set the bar lower.

But really, there are Baby People, folks who just love the smell, the sounds and the overall experience of an infant. They can’t believe how fast the time is going by. They cherish the smallness, the sense of being needed so completely, and forget what life was like before. At least they say that last one and I’m not sure what they mean. For example, I remember a time when I would decide to leave the house and then just go ahead and leave the house. I recall those times with a wistful fondness.

But maybe I don’t get it because I am not a Baby Person. I like babies in a general way. I am a human being, after all. There’s discomfort some people have around babies or a preference to not be around them, sure, but I think most people at a core level are pro-baby, just as members of humanity. And I am pro-baby, and I think they’re cute and I like them well enough, and certainly more so now that I have my own. But I also never gave them much thought before I became a mother.

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  • Bethany Ramos

    YESSS I have a two-year-old and already wish that I had given birth to a two-year-old. The first year of life, I could totally leave it behind. I wish that people would tell new moms that it gets better without feeling like it is taboo or a terrible thing to say.

    • CommentingPeg

      BTDT twin moms have no qualms about telling newbie twin moms that the first year is the absolute worst. ‘The only thing you have to do in the first year is survive it. Life gets better after that.’ Apparently the same is true for singleton kids…

  • ElleJai

    I’m pretty happy at 18 months. He doesn’t do anything too suicidal, I can usually leave the diaper bag in the car without much hassle, and the learning to talk thing is adorable.

    Plus he can hold his own food and drink, and although he makes a giant mess of it somehow that’s ok.

    Every age has perks… Well, almost every age lol.

  • AmazingE

    I’m not a baby person either, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. I’m currently pregnant, and I kinda wish I could just give birth to like a one year old. My other kids are 8 and 15 months, and while I love them both I would love even more to be able to just skip that first year and get straight to them being small people instead of “crying potatoes”.

  • Nica

    Yes, yes and YES!!!!!!!!! Totally agree. I’m blessed with two boys – ages 4 and 18 mo. I love them both beyond measure, but truth be told, I enjoy spending time with my four year old a whole heck of a lot more than my 18 mo old. My 4 year old is bright, funny and surprisingly insightful. He enjoys snuggling and telling me about his day. He loves the aquarium and bounce houses… I could go on and on. My 18 mo old warms my heart, but he requires near-constant attention and his little personality is still developing. I really am waiting for him to get to where my first son is though I feel awful wishing the time away… I’m glad I had my 2nd son when I did because if I had waited much longer I don’t know if I would have taken the plunge into babyhood again!

  • DadandBuried

    Babies are totally boring. The problem is, even though things get more interesting with toddlers (and beyond), they also get much harder. Babies are merely inconvenient, toddlers are walking nightmares. The good definitely increases, but so does the bad!

  • chickadee

    I enjoyed almost every stage, to be honest, but what I absolutely loathed was being told (while pregnant, while toting a baby, while dragging a toddler, etc ad nauseum ad infinitum) that ‘you think THIS is bad; well, it just gets harder at (x) age!’ I always smiled tightly at her (it was always a woman) and wished I could say, ‘sorry that your kid sucks!’

    By the way, I never noticed that my babies got ‘worse’ as they grew up. They usually got more interesting.

    • http://www.gamedevwidow.weebly.com/ Theresa Edwards

      Agreed. Slug age is the hardest/boringest

  • LiteBrite

    I’m not a baby person either. I’m happy for friends and family who are pregnant and then have their newborns, but I’m not totally comfortable around babies. Once they hit the age of two, I start liking them much more.

    Right now my son is six, and the age range of 5-6 has been my favorite so far. He’s still in that magical fantasy versus reality thought phase, we have interesting convos (some of which make no sense, which is fun), but he’s also semi-independent and can get his own bacon out of the fridge. Nice!

  • Maria Guido

    If I found a daycare that offered to potty train my son, I would do backflips.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I would pay extra.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      My daycare lady did because my daughter was “ready” about 2 weeks before summer break (I’m a teacher) and I was just going to do it then. She didn’t want to wait, so she did much of the dirty work for me, and I just had to continue at home. I love that woman. Always will.

    • Teleute

      My four-year-old came across his old Once Upon a Potty DVD the other night and has expressed interest in potty training other people’s babies. I’m sure he’d be willing to take yours on as a pupil — for the right price.

    • Natasha B

      When our oldest daughter was in daycare, they did it as a group. 3 days and that was it. She was trained! I only provided underwear. It was the best thing ever, until the boy was old enough and I was a SAHM and had no clue what I was doing.

  • SA

    “I didn’t exactly bond to my newborn right away, but I did get on board with his needs”

    I love that. I don’t really understand the whole immediate bonding thing. I mean this is a little person I have never met. How do I know what I even like about them yet? But that perfectly describes it. An intense need to protect and care for, but not an immediate bond.

    I’m glad I started at baby though. If my 17month old was just plopped in my lap, I might give her back. ;) Fortunately, over the past 1.5 years I have grown to love her intensely which means I forgive her immediately when she throws a tantrum to STAY at the sitters at the end of the day. When she gets a gleam in her eye and tries to bite my face and pull my hair. When she goes stiff as a board and I am late to work because I couldn’t bend her into the car seat.

    However I did look at her today and she looked so grown-up in the outfit I had her in and this rush of hope ran through me that I am actually on my way to having a real live human being instead of this baby-toddler mess! :)

  • LadyClodia

    Of course I always love him, but I frequently can’t stand my preschooler. He was a somewhat difficult infant and toddler too, so it’s probably just him. He’s not great at communication, and he freaks out about everything. He’s had a fair amount of upheaval in his short life, and I’m sure that contributes to his difficultness, but I have no idea what to do with him sometimes. I like to imagine it will get better as he gets older, but I think we’ll always have challenges with him. I’m not really looking forward to my toddler being a preschooler either, though, but for different reasons. I guess I’m just more of a baby person, and I’m out of luck now, hah.

  • Rachel Sea

    The lump stage is intense with sleep deprivation, but otherwise I find it to be the easiest. There is no “I DO IT” fight over shoelaces, no frantic search to find Red Car because one cannot possibly leave the house without it, and no pretending that imaginative play with Guys holds any interest for me. If all I need to do is feed, clean and comfort a lump, while being horribly sleep deprived, I feel like a pro. If I need to talk through self-image issues, or interpersonal relationships with an 8 year old, I’m lost.

  • Kay_Sue

    I dunno, my older kid was an asshole at four and the younger is headed there…I’d take a six year old….as long as I didn’t have to give birth to it.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    I’m sorry if this is off topic, but is that a baby made out of potato? Like WTF?

  • aCongaLine

    I’m in agreement with this- I’m not a fan of baby/toddlerhood. Too much equipment, not enough predictability. Though, the kids, as people, are pretty awesome in general. Someday, when they pee in the potty and empty the dishwasher, I’ll like them :)

    • AnastasiaMcNally

      Wow I am super overtired (because of a baby! Shocking!) and I read the last part as “someday, when they pee in the dishwasher, I’ll like them.” It took me forever to work out, haha.

    • aCongaLine

      oh man, lol. Well, I suppose if they do that, I’d just run it anyway. hehe

    • Brandy

      I’m an overtired new mom as well and I read the same thing you did. **Sigh**

  • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

    The thing is with babies, aside from the waking up at night thing, they are pretty easy in comparison to toddlers. Once my eldest daughter hit 4, she started refusing to do anything I asked her to. Punishment was not a deterrent. When she was a baby, I would say no you can’t have a cookie, and she would cry. Now I say, no she goes to get one anyway. I put them on top of the fridge so she can’t reach them, she climbs the fridge.

    As a baby, she would lay her little head on my shoulder and her little baby breath would blow on my cheek. When I kissed her she would laugh and snuggle in. Now at 7 years old she weighs 50 lbs she still wants to be carried upstairs to bed, and wants me to stand in the bathroom and watch her brush her teeth, but she refuses kisses, doesn’t want me to lay down next to her, only wants cuddles when I am busy.

    When they were babies it was so easy to make them laugh. All I had to do was bounce her on my knee or say peek a boo. Now they beg me to make up stories off the top of my head repeatedly and then if I ask them if they like it they say, “Meh it was ok”

    They are a lot more fun now because we can do things like: board games, skiing, tennis, skating, biking; but chase and wrestling games require much more energy than before. They are bigger and faster and having them run and jump on my head hurts. Sometime I really miss, just laying on the couch with the baby on my chest and admiring their sleepy baby faces.

    There are still amazing moments. On the weekend my 7 year old read me an entire book without stumbling over any words and I almost cried with pride. My 5 year old will drop everything to come and sit in my lap to hear me read and sit with me for hours. They never flop over my shoulder though and rest their face against mine.

  • Cheryl Ann Moore

    I adore my 4 yo daughter, finally completely potty trained and always wanting to play Barbies where the most drastic thing that happens is going swimming. But my 11 yo…. now he’s a kick in the pants! The way he views life, and how he expresses himself rarely fails to crack me up. Fave quote :Me- your voice is kinda annoying, can you be quiet for a bit? him: I know… it’s just because I haven’t hit puberty yet!

  • meghancnyc

    Ha! I was watching The Way Way Back the other night and thinking about how I can’t wait for my 2 yo to be old enough to go on a water slide with me. I could have written this myself! Thanks.

  • TwentiSomething Mom

    I felt the same way. I would say I can’t wait until he’s walking so I don’t have to carry so much gear around, I can’t wait until he’s talking so I can know what he wants and not have to decipher cries. I can’t wait till we can have fun and do the zoo and theme parks and stuff.
    And now that my little one is almost three, I look back and wish I would have appreciated that stage more, and I actually miss it at times. Like I feel like I could have done better and made it a priority to enjoy that stage.

  • meteor_echo

    This comic here expresses my feelings towards babies to a T. Not holding, feeding, cleaning or having them ever.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Please tell me there is a t-shirt of this for when my friends and family start reproducing!

  • Jayamama

    This is so funny. I love babies. They stay put when you put them down. The only eat one thing, and are happy to eat it, too! They sleep most of the time. They like to cuddle (at least the ones I’ve ever met). And they don’t talk. It’s kids that scare the crud out of me, with their opinions and picky ways, running off all the time, temper tantrums, and having to find ways to entertain them. I don’t know how the heck to carry on a conversation with a kid. My oldest is only two, and I’m terrified of her growing older. I miss when she was easy, like her 10-week-old sister. Of course, the latter does want to eat every hour and still wakes up three times a night. I didn’t get to bed last night until 2am because she’s having a growth spurt.

    I take it back. She’s not easy. But she sure isn’t as intimidating.