My favorite stage of parenting so far is age 8-11. Babies are cute, but they are incredibly needy, mind-blowingly messy, and you can’t have a conversation with them. I much prefer interacting with people who can wipe their own bottoms, pick up after themselves (albeit with much resistance and some coercion), and have heated arguments over which movie series was the best adaption from the books: The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
I am really looking forward to the teen years. It is such a delight to watch each of my children develop into individuals, find the things they love and are good at, and go out and do them.
Another unexpected gift has been learning from my kids. My oldest son is fearless yet disarmingly gentle in the way he points out things I should stop doing (like the way I express anger) or things I should reconsider. I respect him so much for doing that, even as I’m working hard to hide my ruffled feathers (if I want him to keep talking about these things, I can’t attack him for it, right?).