I began writing this column in 2008, when my kids were 1, 3 and 7.
I’ve been able to chronicle some of our best — and worst — parenting moments during the past six years.
Sometimes readers are surprised when they hear my kids are now 7, 9 and 13.
It’s a little fact of life that surprises me, too.
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When we became parents, our folks warned us that time would go faster than we could imagine. “One day you’ll wake up, and you’ll realize they’re not babies anymore,” my mom said.
I don’t recall that specific moment with our daughter. She’s our oldest, and we have admittedly sheltered her more than her peers. Let’s just say that one of the Campers of the Week in 2013 at Camp Olywahoo was at least two years older than most kids and the size of teenage helpers. She begrudgingly got out of our car every morning, saying that most of her friends who had working parents stayed home alone. We later fact-checked that and learned that some of her friends were already babysitting younger siblings that summer. Our bad.
A few weeks ago, our oldest son, who is 9, climbed on my lap to watch TV.
What a loving gesture, I thought.
Then I realized that he weighs more than 100 pounds, and wasn’t wearing deodorant.
Who was this stinky man-child crushing my legs? And why was he insisting on watching Disney teen dramas, instead of cartoons?
I know he still needs us, but it seems like he’s growing up so much faster than our daughter.
She was still playing with Webkinz and Littlest Pet Shop toys at his age. I don’t think he’s really played with actual toys for months.
His little brother roped him into playing with some plastic dragons recently, but once he realized I saw them playing together, he took off to play video games.
He’s started to be nicer to his sister, and sometimes tries to hang out with her and her friends.
At 9, he definitely sees himself as a teenager. He’s really independent, like his dad, so I’m a little afraid what his actual teenage years will mean for our family.
When we were back-to-school shopping, he insisted on picking out Washington State University Cougar gear.
“I kind of decided a long time ago that I wanted to go to WSU,” he said.
He’s in fourth grade this year, and apparently he doesn’t want to wait until his junior year to declare his decision, or even consider Central Washington University, where his great-grandpa, grandpa and I went. But I digress.
At least we still have our baby, who is 7 and very content in not growing up yet.
He still loves toys, “Scooby Doo” and kid meals. (Hey, grown-up meals are expensive!) If he sees something scary on TV, he declares, “I’m sleeping with Mama and Daddy tonight.”
Also, he told me the other day that he doesn’t plan to go to WSU because he’s going to be a chef and live with us forever.
I’m good with that.