From Baby to Big Boy
“I can do it myself!” Peanut grimaced as he grabbed his toothbrush from me. It seemed like it was just the other day that I was showing him the right way to hold the toothbrush… Oh wait. It was the other day.
Something happens to that sweet baby boy between the ages of two and four. It may start suddenly with proclamations of being able to do things on his own or gradually. However it happens, one thing is for certain, your baby is turning in to a big boy.
It’s never failed to frustrate me or make me smile all at the same time when it happened to my older two boys. Now that Peanut is the last of our clan, these baby to big boy moments seem even more precious and more bittersweet than his brothers’ before him.
However, since I’ve done this a couple of times before, I think I’m better able to handle it than I did when it was Bug (where I turned in to a sobbing mess every time he didn’t need me for something). Through trial and error, and lots of big boy scowls, I’ve learned a few things along the road to becoming a “big boy”.
1. Stop calling him your baby. It’s tempting to want to lovingly call him “mommy’s sweet baby” from time to time but doing so will likely only make him mad. He’s a Big Boy now, remember? If he’s anything like my boys, he’ll remind you every time you say it that he’s not a baby!
2. Let him be your baby. Contradictory to number 1, there will still be times where he’s going to want his momma. Don’t push him away. Let him climb into your lap and snuggle and cuddle with you. He’s sorting this big boy thing out and it can be confusing at times. Relax and enjoy it because in five minutes he’s going to be ready to jump up and start being big again. It’s a fleeting moment. Take it and savor it.
3. Encourage him in whatever he does but don’t use the notion of being “big” as a bribe or a reason to do something you want him to. He’ll find out soon enough that big boys do things that babies can’t do. You won’t need to bribe him. Before you know it he’ll be all too happy to do what the big boys do and won’t need a bribe. Let him discover the big boy world on his own.
4. Be patient with him. There’s no need to rush this stage. He’s going to flip back and forth with it for awhile. He’s gaining his independence from you and it’s emotional for both of you. He’s going to get frustrated with you and with himself. His mind and body are growing quickly but there’s no reason to push him through it.
5. Savor every moment of this stage. It’s amazing and heart wrenching to watch them grow up and discover a whole new world for themselves. Being big might mean potty training or going down the big slide at the playground, or helping dad “fix” things. Whatever being big means to him, remember it for yourself because the time will come when you’ll look back and remember him in daddy’s shoes and tie proclaiming that he has to “go to work” only to walk out of the room and back in again a moment later.
These are moments you won’t ever want to forget or rush through.
It’s an amazing ride this big boy stage. He’s going to need you along the way. Your big boy (I don’t dare say baby) will shock you, and provide you with some thought provoking and funny moments. He’s going to break your heart and make it swell with pride all at the same time.
Most of all, he’s going to make you fall in love with him all over again just like you did on the day he came into your life.