Babies are only babies for a few months. Then they get huge; big enough it looks strange that you're carrying them around in your arms. Our littlest one is on that fateful verge of crawling and speaking. There goes the quiet thoughtful stare I came to know. It becomes the age of "I want to do things for myself but I can't, so instead I'll scream about it." They find screaming is much more effective than merely crying in their old dolphin-style squeek.
Our oldest one is past the perfect-four-year-old stage and has moved on to the point that he will leave the house and run across the street without telling you. The other day we were walking out to the car and, in a matter of seconds, I found him amid the January weather soaking wet and holding a DVD in his hand. I got really mad (it's the new and horrible me). I dragged him inside, "You don't take DVDs out of the house. You don't turn on the water (the outside spigot). You don't get soaking wet when we're leaving."
He said, "Olivia turned the water on." She smiled at me and said, "Sorry, dad." The older kids like to piss each other off for fun. They are so surprised when they get in trouble for it and they pity themselves for having such a tyrant for a father. I'm zero-tolerance now and my only warning to them is to say, "Do you want me to get mad at you? Then stop now." They are very creative at coming up with ways to annoy: Dumping all the baby food into the bucket on the back of a tricycle. Stealing all the baby wipes to clean their toys or to use as blankets for all the sleeping toys they spread across the floor. They carry DVDs with them everywhere they go. If you give them a thimble full of juice in a garbage can, they can find a way to spill it across two rooms. Voila! Theater-quality sticky floors.
We provide them with five meals a day and maybe two of them end up in their stomachs. I can't wait for puberty to settle them down.