Parents everywhere long for that sweet spot moment or age. That age varies from parent to parent and child to child. It's that magical time period with your little one that you want to hold onto forever, the one that passes way too quickly.
For some parents this is the time when they decide that it would be a good idea to add another member to their brood, for others it's an enjoyment and epiphany that parenting from here on out is just going to be okay. I mean sure, there are going to be bad days and bad weeks (we all have them), but for the most part this is the age where you want to press pause and just enjoy.
There is a quote from Andy Bernard from the television series The Office that comes to mind here, “I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them.”
While there is no way to predict “the good old days," many parents and grandparents have a favourite age, or ages that they look upon fondly throughout their journey as parents. Hopefully this will help us all take in a much deserved pause, cause let's face it, the days are long, but the years are short.
15 Newborn Bliss
Michelle, mother of three, loves that newborn moment in time. She says, “Those first couple of weeks when you are bonding with your newborn and you don't care about anything else....so sweet.” She also adds, “I used to say that babies just get better and better every three months - they can do more, they're more interesting, they're aware of more, it's amazing....and they're so cute!”
14 Six to Seven Months
At this age parents get a bigger glimpse of who their children are going to be. Caroline, parent of a two and four year old says, “6-7 months when they first start sitting up on their own and you can actually put them on the floor to sit and play with toys instead of constantly holding them. They are also smiling way more and starting food and becoming a bit more independent. “
13 Toddler Years
Caroline commented on 20-23 months being a small sweet spot before the terrible twos phenomenon took effect with her sons.
“20-23 months when they become real little people. They are too young for the really epic, raging tantrums and insane defiance of a three-year-old but they are also no longer babies and are really building their language, communicating, and discovering the world. Such a sweet and awesome time, you are finally getting to see their personality."
Caroline then described what it was ike adding more kids to the mix, "With Max, that is when we decided to have a second kid, and we are in that sweet spot with Lochlan right now and it's WONDERFUL, like falling in love!!! I give him hugs and tell him how much I love him almost every day and I NEVER did that when he was a baby. (laughs) I really am not a baby person, though!”
Michelle another mother has fond memories of, “That time between 12 months and almost 2...especially 15 months and 18 months. They can do so much more and they just want to please you. It's a wonderful time. When they're learning more and more words and learn to walk and finally get this potty training thing, finally being able to write their name, finally being able to read....so exciting for the parents and the child.”
12 Not so Terrible Twos
Very few people will boast two as their golden year of parenthood, but personally, as a parent of twins, this is when our life got a lot easier. My kids were able to play with each other somewhat independently and snippets of their personalities started to emerge, many that are even still there today, three years later.
They started sharing with each other, and telling little jokes. This is the first time I remember my son’s infectious laugh or my daughter’s penchant for naming her toys amazing things, like her then bed time companion who was always up to no good that she named, “Mean Baby” (naturally).
11 Three is Terrific
Uyen, mother of a three year old, says that three has been the best age to date, adding, “It's hard to pick an age, I think maybe because Michael is only three and it just gets more and more fun with him. I would say right now at this moment because he is fairly independent, can hold his own in conversations with us, and is just becoming his own little person."
She added that, "It's so neat to realize that I made this little human and to watch his personality develop is pretty awesome. Maybe when he's older and he can wipe his own butt with no mess, pick out his own clothes and dress himself, not throw tantrums anymore, etc. I'll say that is the new sweet spot.“
10 Three Is Still Key
Hina Fathima, mother of two children also loved age three, “Most parents would not describe the year their toddler was three years without the use of ‘terrible’ preceding it. I must be the lucky one – what a wonderful year that was. It was the year the best things peaked."
She goes on to describe her children's public displays of affection for her, "I must be selfish, I just loved all the affection and the attention I got as a working mommy. I usually arrived home to my three year old bursting with uncontained excitement at seeing me; it reminded me of a puppy barking excitedly and jumping all over at the sight of its mistress. I still think young boys are like puppies – always excited to see you, always consumed by play and just happy at being fed. It is the age before school and hence before T.V., before YouTube surfing, before Xbox, before iPhone and/or iPad. Just unadulterated affection bordering on worship.”
9 Four is Fantastic
Many parents love four, for so many great reasons, one of them being their greatly improved communication skills. Kent, father of two children ages 2.5 and five says, “Age four has been the most rewarding to date. This is the age that my son started school full-time, and with it came both a crystallization of everything we had instilled in him and clearest view of who he was independent from his parents."
He reflected that, "It has been an age where he is more aware than ever of his strengths and his weaknesses and how he compares to his peers, but an age where he doesn’t yet care about any of that. I will always remember age four as the time where he first became a 'big kid' to me without fully having left toddlerhood; the age where he patiently explained the differences between the Tyrannosaurus and Allosaurus while wearing his fireman pyjamas.”
8 Four and a Half Is Even Better
Caroline also loves having a four and a half year old and says, “4.5 is what Max is and I'm also really loving that because he is finally able to help me out on occasion: He can hold and open doors for me when I'm pushing the stroller, put on and zip up all his clothes, put his laundry away, rinse out his dishes and put them in the dishwasher, wipe his own bum (thank god!)."
Caroline goes on to describe how she appreciates her son in other ways, "He's also finally started to draw things that aren't scribbles and I'm absolutely loving seeing the creative things he draws and putting his art up on the walls. “
Chris, father of two, adds, “At four they became real little people, with big conversations and even bigger imaginations. Now that we approach five, they’re more fun than ever before!”
7 The Kindergarten Years
Some parents like to spread out their families by four to five years, perhaps this is because what a sweet spot the preschool years are.
Wendy, grandparent of five grandchildren, and parent to three grown up children says, “I think the 4-5 age bracket was the first very rewarding time. We were past the terrible twos and threes, the toddlers were mostly agreeable and were less likely to try to prove their independence (by taking off or putting their little lives in danger)."
She goes on to explain further why this is a great age for kids, "Also it was the first time we could interact on a semi-adult basis by explaining things, playing games, and getting feedback on their feelings. It is also an age when they are excited and helpful with a new, younger sibling, and are less likely to feel jealous because they are the big kid now.”
6 Eight Is Great
Erika, mother of two loves the balance between all things child, with a sneak peek into adult conversation that the age of eight offers. “One of my favourite ages is 8, when they are still kids but show flashes of the adult they will grow up to be. It's a best-of-both-worlds age, where they still like chasing bubbles and cuddling on your lap, and also can have a serious, detailed discussion with you about the need protect the brown bats because they are important to our ecosystem (Brown bats. Who knew?)”.
5 Nine Is Fine
Michelle is enjoying her time with her nine year old son saying, “Having an interesting conversation with a clever 9-year-old, that's pretty awesome. Seeing the moon through a telescope the first time, having him recommend a book to me, is so cool.”
4 The Pre-Teen Years
Many parents enjoy the time period of parenting when your kids are old enough to be actively engaged, but haven’t yet settled into the terrible teenage years yet.
Joy, grandmother of five children, and mother of two grown kids says her sweet spot was easily, “10-12 years old and definitely pre puberty when you lose your kids to another dimension! They're interesting and interested in you, as a parent and person. I always loved camping with them at any age but at this age they were enthralled with nature, wild animals, campfires, hiking and enjoying every aspect of the great outdoors.”
3 The Young Adult
Parissa is so happy sharing with her grown up son and how their relationship has evolved over the years. “I have a 22 year old wonderful son (Faraz). I should say that, I have loved all of his ages however I enjoy his current age the most so far. Not only he is my son, but also he has become my friend as well."
She describes what she loves so much about this stage, "He makes me laugh with his jokes and sometime makes me think about some of my actions. I can have more mature conversation with him now. Seeing him graduate from university and try to figure out what to do with his life is an amazing experience for me!”
2 I’m Still Waiting for It
Many parents are still in the thick of parenting toddlers or little ones and have yet to hit their sweet spot. While this means that parenthood isn’t necessarily a breeze right now, it could also mean that the best is yet to come!
Michelle says, “I remember longing for this elusive "sweet spot" when the kids would be pretty independent and I could finally get things done, but now that I look back, there have been so many sweet spots. I'm so glad that I was able to spend a lot of time with my kids when they were young.
1 No Such Thing as a Sweet Spot
Katie, mother of one teenage daughter doesn’t think there’s one magical sweet spot, “I might remember age two to five as 'best' only because it was jam packed with horror. Each and every moment of that age was filled with remarkable feats that include; not drowning, not needing stitches, not choking, not getting a super-virus and not killing her father for not matching her clothes properly."
Katie continues to tell me more about her views on parenting kids, "At first you are just keeping them alive, but after age two each act of blatant rebellion and questionable behaviour goes into a cacophony of birdsong. That’s what memories are made of. Figuring out the kid’s personality and trying to do right by them is a daily blessing. There’s no best age and there’s no such thing as a sweet spot. Although some baby-sniffing weirdos will probably disagree.”