1. They don’t share. AT ALL.

You are pretty sure you will be working on this until they are in their 70s. The main problem is that the other kids give them WHATEVER they want, WHENEVER they want. When you ask them why, they say things like, “She screamed so I gave it to her.”

You are really excited for their future parent-teacher conferences.

2. DRAMA.

That noise that sounds like they’re being de-limbed in the back bedroom? That is the noise the youngest makes when their socks are “bothering them”.

3. You feel optimistic about their future in politics, reality TV, or kickboxing.

4. They are a little power-hungry.

One day they ask if you will play with them. You say yes, and then they say, “OK, you are Cinderella and I am the evil step-mother. DO THE DISHES!” You are not really sure what this means, but you are scared.

You wonder if they offer villain-for-a-day instead of princess-for-a-day at Disney.

5. They never EVER want to watch the same thing as ANYONE on family movie night.

6. They work the system.

You realize this when you ask them to carry their coat and they say, “I can’t because I’m a baby tiger and I only have claws,” and you say, “Oh, right, OK.”

Halfway to the car you think . . . wait, what??

7. With the first you were a perfectionist, with the last you are truly a free spirit.

And by free spirit I mean they are probably going to get more cavities than all your other kids combined.

8. They have every single person in the family wrapped around their finger.

Every. Single. Person.

Except that middle child, he’s on to her.

9. They pretend to be helpless and everyone believes them.

They don’t put on their own shoes until they’re like 11.

Let me rephrase that: please God, let them put on their own shoes by the age of 11.

10. They are not boring.

When it comes to personality they bring their A-game. They have a loud voice and big opinions. Kind of like a lap dog that thinks it’s a Doberman. By the time you reach post-bedtime, you are ragged. You have earned that ice cream. You have earned it, and you will eat it, and you will sometimes cry.

Tomorrow is a new day.

11. People offer you advice.

They say, “You know, my Henry did that. I just looked at him one time and I said ‘NO’. You should think about trying that, it really works.” You want to commit an act of violence, but you don’t . . . because you’re awesome.

Hang in there.

12. They have received actual disciplinary measures from the grandparents.

You didn’t know there was a line that was crossable. Your youngest found the line and then bulldozed it.

13. They seem like a baby FOREVER.

They use things like pacifiers, boobs, diapers, and cribs for a debatable, if not concerning, amount of time and their sole contribution to household chores is picking-their-nose-in-the-corner.

They just seem so little still.

Except NOBODY thinks that, but you. Especially not your other kids during said household chores.

14. You’re the best at enjoying them.

You’ve seen how your other kids have blown through stages and milestones in a whirlwind blur. You take more moments to notice with your youngest, to smell them, and to hold them.

15. They will always be your baby.

You can’t help it and you don’t want to help it.

They are the Sriracha to your stir-fry, the cherry on your sundae. They are the last piece of the picture. It’s sorrow mixed with joy to watch your littlest grow big, knowing each stage will be “the last time”. You wish you could bottle up those giggles and kisses and keep them forever.

Your littlest stretches you to the max, but your heart is fuller than you ever could have imagined.

You wouldn’t change a thing.

Jessica Johnston

Jessica Johnston is a writer and mom of four kids. She is an avid coffee drinker, risk taker, and TMI sharer. She is a firm believer in keeping it real and believes our imperfections bring us together. She writes at https://wonderoak.com/. You can follow her there, on Facebook, and on Instagram.