My babies are far form being babies anymore. At 6 and 3.5 they are two real-deal people. While these ages certainly provide their own special flavor of challenges, good heavens so much of life is just easier.
Some of it is just the logistics of life. No more diapers means I don't need to lug a full arsenal of changing gear everywhere we go. Sure I have toured every public bathroom between here and the Mississippi, but no diaper bag. No more bottles or special food needs. Not only do my kids no longer need to eat every 30 minutes, but they can eat whatever we are eating. I generally bring some snacks or pack a lunch if we are off adventuring, but for the most part we can just go about our day without the constant threat of "snack attack." Lastly, we now use high back belt positioning boosters for both girls. Both of them are on the tall side and quickly outgrew the height restrictions of their Britax Marathons. After much discussion with our pediatrician, we made the switch and man, it has been a total game changer. Now they can get in the car and get buckled in with little help from me. Granted I check that everyone is buckled and that the belts are situated properly, but it is a world away from doing up two five point harnesses every single time we get in or out of the car.
All of this is lovely, but the most luxurious things is that having bigger kids provides you a wonderful amount of distance from the seemingly endless drama surrounding babies. Once you toss your kids into a school setting you quickly see that all the stuff you used to stress about hardly matters. Looking at Charlie's kindergarten class you can't tell who was breastfed and who was "poisoned and forced into obesity" by formula. Everyone seems to have survived their time in diapers regardless of what kind of ecological damage their parents chose and everyone is plugging along towards age appropriate milestones even if they never used Baby Einstein, co-slept, ate organic baby food, sleep-trained or whatever the drama llama may have been. This is the one major thing I wish I could say to new parents: your kids are a summation of many little choices that you, as the parent, know best how to make; they will all be fine, just do what feels right.
Though I miss the baby years sometimes, babies and toddlers are just so stinking cute, this age is really growing on me. It is not an age that I am good at, I still find myself really clueless as to how to handle school-age kids, but I am really liking it. Watching my kids learn to read and write is just as amazing as watching them learn to walk. Seeing Chris and Lizzie talking over breakfast every morning is even more satisfying than the sight of Chris holding them as babies (though those images still make me fall in love with him a million times over). Charlie playing Catan Junior or Minecraft makes me so excited about the person she is going to be and now I actually can see just that. I am getting a feeling for the people my kids will someday be and that is the most exciting thing ever.