Go On and Grow

“Slow down time!” I see posts like this accompanying pictures of my friends’ growing children flooding my timeline daily. I think there is an unwritten rule that we should all wish our kids to stay little. But as someone who seems to always be breaking every rule of parenting, I have decided that I’m just fine leaving time to do its thing. Little babies just aren’t really my jam (except when they are sleeping, because who can resist a sweet sleeping baby?). My baby is now a preschooler. And with each passing year, I love being that little gal’s mom even more.

The baby days weren’t too kind on me. My terrible sleeper and post-partum depression still haunt me. Being the mom of a baby was lonely, exhausting and overwhelming. And while this is true for all mothers, I had trouble finding the joy in it. I hope that it will be different the next time around (when I get up the courage to have a next time), but I’ve never wished for time to slow down. In fact, I sometimes have to stop myself from wishing it away in my excitement about seeing her grow.

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My daughter recently turned four, and it is definitely the best year yet. The conversations we have are equal parts sweetness and hilarity. Seeing her personality blossom is such a blast. She’s eager to learn and explore. She’s independent but still loves to snuggle with her mommy during a movie. I can almost see the little wheels turning in her mind as she asks tough questions like “How do babies get in mommies’ bellies?” And follows after an insufficient answer with “But how do they get IN there???”

Not to mention the improved logistics of life. She can dress herself, turn on lights, open doors and turn on the TV with minimal assistance. She can use the bathroom on her own and typically uses less than the entire role of toilet paper. If something is wrong or she is in pain, she can use actual words to tell me the problem. She cleans baseboards like a boss. Oh, and she sleeps through the night (Ok, so she comes in my room every night and climbs in my bed to snuggle. But how great is that?!?)! It’s true that the preschool years aren’t all butterflies and roses. The whining (oh the whining!) and the bossy attitude can make my head spin. But overall, four is pretty fab.

I’m not afraid to admit that I can’t wait to watch this girl grow up. I hope that she’s kind and compassionate. That I’m able to teach her and guide her in a way that makes her confident and brave in ways that I never was. I am so excited to see the young woman she becomes. I know that there will be many hard days. I already fear the influences of peer pressure and social media. But I couldn’t be more anxious to see what the future holds for her.

Ashley grew up in Joplin, Missouri and attended the University of Arkansas where she earned a degree in Finance and Insurance. She met her husband, Jason, in Fayetteville and they have one daughter, Etta Mae. They moved to Baton Rouge in 2013 for Jason's job with the LSU Tigers. Ashley is an extroverted introvert who loves Ted Talks, following politics on Twitter, and figuring out how to get the best deals on everything without paying shipping. If it were up to her, she would get paid to read books and take every college class so that she could learn everything about everything, but instead she pays the bills by working in recruiting for a multinational tech company. Ashley is blessed to have a daughter who is at least as stubborn as she is and a husband who is laid back enough to put up with both of them.

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