25 June 2011

Bowling Birthday

Riley had his birthday party today. It was at the local bowling alley. Unlimited bowling plus pizza and drinks and balloons made for a very, very fun event.

It was so much fun for me to see Riley with his friends. He invited five boys: four from his class plus a cousin, and then Maddie was there as the "bonus kid." Oh, and Riley invited our former neighbor, his football/general sporting buddy we'll call Indy. No one cried, no one got hurt, the kids took turns without being told to, there was no cutthroat competition, no overly rowdy behavior, and there was lots of camaraderie, support, hugging, and good sportsmanship. It really could not have gone better.

I've heard that these are the magical years, these early grade school times from five-ish to eight-ish. I've also heard lots of things that turned out not to be true about sleeping and tantrums and improvements in attitude or other behaviors that turned out not to be true. But this mythical idea of magical years, golden years, I'm starting to buy it. We have so much fun together now, me and Maddie and Riley. The kids are, for the most part, rational beings. Funny, smart rational beings, to boot. They are personable and curious and unendingly friendly. They are generous and kind and just plain happy. Sure, I'm biased. But they're pretty darn awesome.

I remember reading parenting books and advice columns and such in which people would express concern about how long it took them to feel really bonded with their kids. There's an expectation that if you parent someone that the bond is near instantaneous, the connection undeniable. I was always relieved, if a bit ashamed, to find that I wasn't alone in not feeling that immediately after Maddie and Riley were born. Oh, sure, I loved them immediately. But it's different now, and much, much deeper. I don't know how to explain it, exactly, and I'm way to exhausted to even be trying right now.

So I'll go to bed. Tomorrow will be Maddie's party. This is the first year they are having separate celebrations, and hers is unlimited rides on a fantastic local carousel + sack lunches + face painting. Riley is her "bonus kid," of course.

Everything feels different this year. I like it.


caro said...

Sounds like you and your two bonus kids are having a great weekend. Enjoy!

Melissa Haworth said...

As a mother of an almost 6 year old and a brand new newborn I am so with you. The 5/6 age is just amazing and so fun and you love your "baby" in a totally different way. I love my newborn but this second time around I'm more okay with the slowness of the real bonding. Not explaining myself well but you know what I mean about the amazingness of the big kids.

Chris said...

Well, I think that the quality of parenting Riley and Maddie have had over the years has contributed to their generally happy personas today. I hope they and you continue to blossom.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Chris b/c I feel less bonded to my almost 8 yr old than I did when she was a baby. I think, in part, that itis my lack of self-esteem. As I see myself more and more in her, I think I just dislike her more and am harder on her. Of course, that is exactly the opposite of what she needs. I should not have had kids - I'm too crazy and it makes me sad. Or donor eggs for both. I'm easier on other people and on the other child that is another's genes. Fear not - I seek help with this but I think crazy internal wiring is tough to fix.

Jess said...

Anon - maybe learning to love and accept your kids will bring with it learning to love and accept yourself. It may turn out to be a place of healing both for you and your children.

CV said...

:( popped over to comments to say I'm happy for you and the kids and only wishing we could have been bonus invites to at least one of those parties.. but then I saw anonymouse 3:08's comment and I'm feeling sad for her. Hang in there, anonymous 3:08. sounds tough.

Snickollet said...


Sending you lots of love and virtual support. Sounds like you are doing some tough work. The internal wiring is hard to fix--kudos to you for taking it on. What a good example for your daughter.


~ Jolene said...

Oh how I adore this post. So happy for you. I can't believe how big Maddie and Riley are...wow. This post just put a big smile on my face :)

Gina said...

I have to say that 4.5 (the age of my older son) is pretty awesome. There has been such a huge leap in his independence and maturity over the past year. Now when he is the first one to wake up the morning he gets his own breakfast, draws pictures, and builds Legos. I can take him almost anywhere without planning or packing a diaper bag.

I actually really love the baby stage and have wondered and worried a bit whether or not I would like older kids as much. Turns out that I do. And he sleeps all night long which sure beats baby sleep.