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better kid ages

Labor day weekend! We spent Saturday at the pool, last day that would be open, and then Sunday Josie and I drove up to my sister's to hang out with the new baby. We left Marc and Olive at home. I've always said, since Olive was born, that the instant you have two kids being left alone with just one kid it's like a vacation and it's true, it was awesome. So quiet!

Josie and I went to the craft store and I bought her one of those rubber band looms, just a little one, even though they say ages 6 and up they were all on sale. Josie took to it like magic, she was cranking out rubber band bracelets all weekend. She loved holding her baby cousin. We shared the full size bed in the guest room and there was lots of snuggling. We went to the Kansas Discovery Center, Topeka's really cool science and nature museum, which Josie has been to before and adores. I was happy all weekend. Missed cute little Olive, but Josie and I were having a blast.

Which got me thinking... if you're going to split kids with your spouse for a weekend, which one is the better pick: the one year old, or the four year old?

Advantages to the four year old
Watches movies happily on longer car trips
Climbs in her own car seat
Less likely to kill herself if left unattended in a non-child-proofed house
Impresses strangers with intellect. Gives high-fives, says funny things
Can sleep in a big bed
Does not require diapers
Gets excited about things ("We're going to the science place? YAY!")
Can be entertained with basic craft supplies or even crayons
Sleeps in later

Advantages to the one year old
Smaller and, in many ways, cuter
Weaker and less able to destroy shit (can't get the lid off a sharpie)
Doesn't care what you dress her in
Chills out in a stroller admiring the scenery if you feel like shopping
Doesn't ask for stuff in stores
Can be entertained with a cardboard box
Makes no dinner demands
Doesn't talk back
Takes afternoon naps
Quieter screaming - rage cannot transcend an entire Target store
Passes out shortly after sundown

Grandparents seem to prefer one year olds... maybe it's a time thing. If you're going to spend an hour alone with a kid, pick the one year old, they're more likely to require nothing from you. But if you're going to spend a weekend, a one year old gets boring after a while so pick the four year old? I mean small cuteness is small cuteness and doesn't really change.

My sister's baby is almost a month old and is 100% baby. She sleeps. Or at more enlightened moments, she fusses and you give her a pacifier and she works on it and zones out at a window. My sister and brother in law are amazed and in love with this, they stare at her face and don't want to miss a second. I was thrilled to hold her, then happy to take Josie to the science museum where she'd have a ball and tell me "thank you". Then get back to Olive, who pretends to dress herself and tests out new words that nobody can understand. Every age has its perks.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 3rd, 2014 05:50 pm (UTC)
I TOTALLY know what you mean about how one kid now feels like a vacation.

I think our 1 year old is easier to be with than the 3 year old, though that may be rapidly changing as she gets more mobile. The 3 year old is just EXHAUSTING to be around though. Sometimes I can barely take 10 minutes of it muchtheless 2 days. But the 3 year old stays asleep at night.
Sep. 4th, 2014 12:44 am (UTC)
I agree, both have their perks. I noticed I'm WAY more appreciative of Amelia's "smallness" because I was so excited and couldn't wait for Erika to grow up, and I blinked and suddenly she was SO grown up.

I remember thinking: I can't wait until --
... she starts solid foods.
... she crawls.
... she says her first word.
... she walks.
... we can hold a conversation.

And so many others, and maybe I missed the fun and pure joy of her just *being*.

Also-- wait, 1 month old babies just sleep...??!! Not in my universe!!!
Sep. 4th, 2014 02:05 am (UTC)
Every age has its perks.
But I think so far (we're up to 6!) it just keeps getting better. :)
Sep. 4th, 2014 05:38 am (UTC)
I haven't had a four year old yet, and I no longer have a one year old, but if almost-3 is any guide, I'd totally take the older child over the younger one! One year olds may be cute, but they are boring, they don't have much of an attention span, and require a lot of input. Almost-three year olds are never boring, have a longer attention span, and though they still require a lot of input, they actually give something back. (Yesterday on the way home from daycare, I asked Gwen, "So, what did you do today?" Her eyes grew wide, her mouth started working, and she marshalled her words together to impart with me the most significant event of the day: "I...ate...muesli!" You gotta laugh.)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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