When I was saying good-bye to my son this morning* and sending him off to school, I said my usual farewell: "Bye!  Love you!  Make good choices!"

*writing this Thursday afternoon

What do you tell your kids when you drop them off at school or send them out into the world? 

I got in the habit of saying, "make good choices" after we had a conversation about not following the crowd and making wise choices when his friends are doing something questionable.  I want him to remember that he is responsible for his own actions.  Kids can be such followers.  When I send him out the door every morning, I’m instructing him to think for himself.  I hope.  Remind me of this when he comes home from junior high and tells me he got busted for smoking behind the bleachers.

And while I’m talking about my son, I have to say that I’m really enjoying him these days.  Isn’t it funny how kids go through stages, and some you like better than others?  Stages, not kids.  I mean, you always LOVE them, of course, but I will be the first to admit that I don’t enjoy every stage. 

For me, I love, love, LOVE babies.  The first year is my favorite stage, sleepless nights and all.  I just love an infant.  I could hold an infant all day long.  In fact, there were many days that I did exactly that.  They’re adorable between 12 and 18 months, but I find that stage very difficult.  But then I love two. 

Go figure.  The terrible twos.  I’ll take those ANY day over the terrifying threes.  I don’t know what it is about three — they start exercising their independence or something.  It kills me. 

Four is nice, but I’m learning that I don’t care so much for five.  Beyond that, I haven’t thought too much about it.  They’re just kids, you know?

But.  I am discovering that I really like eight.  My son is
finally old enough to get my sense of humor.  When I say
something dry, he gets it.  Sometimes I’m surprised when he chuckles at one of my quips.  I don’t expect him to find the humor in it, and I don’t suppose I’m really trying to be funny most of the time, but when he looks at me and giggles, it lights up my world. 

I’ve also noticed that he can carry on intelligent conversation.  I enjoy chatting with him now.  He understands when I’m having a rough day, and he tries to help out.  Also.  He is speaking up more confidently to adults. 

If you have one of those delightfully irrepressible children who will talk to anything that is breathing, then you may not know why this brings such joy to my soul.  But for years we have been coaching our kids to speak up, make eye contact, respond when an adult talks to you already!!

Now I’m watching our son come into his own, and these skills are coming more naturally to him.  Either that, or he figured that after eight years of my nagging, I’m not going to stop any time soon, so he might as well ante up.  Either way, I like eight.

* * *

Yesterday on Chic Critique, The Sisters reviewed Spanx, and today Megan reviews her favorite skin-quenching dry skin lotion.  Go check it out!



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19 Responses

  1. I don’t know anything about age 8, but I’m completely smitten with age 2 right now. Can it really get better? Whenever someone leaves my house, I can’t help but say “be careful + watch out for the deer.” I guess we all have a little something to say.

  2. I feel the exact way about 3. It almost sent me to crazytown with my daughter and son. I cannot wait for him to turn 4.

    I’ve heard that 8 is a good age for boys. My neighbor has a son and loved the years 8-11. She was just telling me that the other day.

    I love age 2 also. So cute.

  3. I think I just like it when they’re asleep better than when they’re awake, usually, especially if I have cute pictures taken during the day to look at and funny moments to reflect on. Twisted, I know.

    Not sure what I say, but my 7 yr old, and now her 3 1/2 yr old sister say “Bye, I love, Be Safe.” So I must have said something like that to give them the idea?

  4. I agree with you about 3. I never understood why people got so upset about the “terrible two’s” when 3yo’s are sooo much worse! I love infants too, but I have real issues with the 9-12 “tween” years.

    I am currently loving my teens! Not that I don’t get some attitude and back-talk, but sometimes it is so great to have a conversation with them and know that they’re becoming such great young adults! I just had a conversation with my 17yo daughter the other night that was so wonderful! We talked about how we both struggle with being unorganized and procrastinators, and how we could both do better. I recommended a book that I thought would help her (Shopping For Time by Carolyn Mahaney) We ended up hugging and crying after I told her how proud I am of the young woman she is becoming. I’ll have to remember that conversation the next time she dismisses something I have to say with a roll of her eyes.

  5. I love hearing that! I know I’m just flying thru seasons with Lydia. I look forward (not wishing for it, of course) to each new stage! My mom always told me she liked every stage of us best, I always try to look at it that way, too! Not wish away where I am–looking forward or back! Great post!

  6. I also have an eight year old boy, and I love this stage. It’s just so great to be with him. The only downside is that after years of being a mama’s boy, he’s starting to realize that his friends and activities are more fun.

    I also love your phrase of make good choices. I may start saying that to my 2 instead of my longer list of reminders for the day.

  7. My daughter is 3 and I am hating this phase. Very bossy and very independent yet very needy at the same time. It can be maddening.

    And I don’t say much more than “I love you” when I drop them off at preschool and I think I might mutter a quick “Thank the Lord we made it on time!” under my breath.

    My mom always said “drive safe”. And it cracks me up that she still to this day will tell me that…and I’m 38!

  8. Our morning goodbye ritual is a prayer. Sometimes they last 10 seconds (because we have limited time) but we ALWAYS take time to pray. We are big on asking for a hedge of protection around our family, that the LORD would keep us in his favor as we go through the day he created and that he would help our feet and our mouth stay on the path that the he would have for us, not the path that he would have for us. My kids love to be prayed for and if I forget to pray they are the first to chime in and tell me so.

  9. My mom used to drop me off and tell me to be a nice girl. That didn’t work so well. Maybe if she had started earlier. My son is only 14 months but I am finding this stage hard.

  10. My favorite is babies too. I just cannot help loving babies.

    But I like just about every age, honestly. I complain a lot about the 10 – 12 ages, but they are good too 🙂 It is nice when they “get” what you are saying. Although it is sorta difficult at times too! LOL

    I am a bit worried about 13 and up. I only hope my kids don’t hate me too much. (As I know some kids do at that age…)

  11. growing up (ok, and still now…), my mom always said “use good judgment!” as part of her “good bye, i love you” routine – I think it started when my brother was in junior high or high school and started…umm…perhaps not using good judgment?! 🙂

    But it became their thing to say to each other – it got to the point that my brother will say “bye, don’t worry, I’ll use good judgment” as he’s walking out the door!

  12. My dad always told me “remember whose name you have,” and it made a big impression on me. In other words, what you do reflects on all of us, so if we wouldn’t be happy with it, DON’T DO IT. I used to tell him the same thing in return, btw.

    When Jessica started school I said the same thing to her, but it went over her head a bit, plus we had a stage where she was having trouble being understanding of other kids who weren’t so perfectionist as she is, so I changed it to something more explicit; “be a good student and a good friend.” That’s been our mantra ever since. Now when I drop the kids off I say to each the “be a good” and they fill in with “student” and then “friend.” I’ll probably upgrade to the “remember whose name you have” before long. They’re getting old enough to get it, and the other is starting to feel a bit tired and overly young for them.

  13. That’s so interesting that you wrote this. I was just thinking the same thing about my 8 year old yesterday. He’s on spring break so he went with me to the office for a bit then out to lunch with the gals. I just sat back and watched him…he was so mature. I like 8 too!

    (I always say, “Have fun and make wise decisions!”)

  14. I usually tell my kids that I love them and to be careful. Occasionally, my son will come back with something like, “darn, I was planning on running with scissors today. I guess that’s out now.” I have no idea where he gets his sarcasm.

  15. The first few months of three with my daughter nearly sent me to the loony bin, but the second half of three is delightful. I’m also really loving age ten, in my oldest. Grown up enough for great discussions, not grown up enough to be a teenager.

  16. Oh…

    And, every morning before my boys get on the bus I say Numbers 6:24-26 to them. Unless we’re in a huge rush (which is most of the time), at which point I just shout MayTheLordBlessYouAndKeepYou at the backs of their heads.

  17. Make good choices….I like that!

    I usally say ‘slow down’ about 40 times or so a day. But, my peanut is b/t 12-18 mo and I SO KNOW what you mean!!

  18. It is funny how kids go through stages – some you love, others you don’t like so much. My daughter is 18m and it’s a fun stage – trying at times, but full of wonder and joy and growth. I’m glad to hear that the two’s are so terrific. That’s good news. 🙂

  19. When I was a highschooler, my mom used to always say “Behave in a way that would make me proud”, with an occasional “Make good choices” when I left the house. Now at age 21 it’s always “Drive safe!”, and when I drop my little brother (5) off at daycare/kindergarten, I rattle off “I love you, have a great day, make sure you listen!” My brother is lots of fun to hang out with, but I’ve enjoyed pretty much every stage of his childhood from the time he started smiling. (Sleeping through the night was another bonus) I have cousins who are 8 and 12 as well, and I always have a blast playing guitar hero/nintendo ds with them at family functions 🙂

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