First I had an infant. A blue-eyed, black-haired, talking from day-one–with the ability to lift his head–infant. He had excitable personality in a twenty-one inch frame, weighing in at a whopping seven and a quarter pounds. In my mind he cried like a banshee tearing through a cemetery; in reality, he sounded like a baby kitten mewling for milk.
Next I had a crawler. An explorer of dark hallways, and grabber of all things shiny, with roadrunner speed. As much as I tried redirecting, the word “no” came out more than I wanted. Life was stressful, chasing after wobbling breakables, but in the end, we survived … and I lost twenty pounds.
Then I had a full-fledged, wobbling toddler. This stage lasted the longest, with his strength and agility trying to catch up through each growth spurt. He fell more than he stood, tweetered more than he got his footing, and ended the years careening off the couch in a pillow case.
Word formation, sentence formation, learning of letters, numbers, shapes, and colors, exploration of all things dinosaur, and the desire to be a Super Hero, were all part of this fantastic toddler life. Paired with a full-force personality, and a smattering of incorrigible “fits.”
My toddler grew to gain his independence, and I grew to love talking about it.
And I have–I have loved every growing part, though I’ve complained of a few.
Okay, okay. I’ve complained a lot.
Repa, Repa, Repetition …
Respect is in the Asking …
Candy Thief …
Asserting Opinion …
Rules, Structure, and Toddlerhood …
Smack Talk, Back Talk, and Discipline Strategizing …
Just to think of a few posts in which I wanted to rip out my hair, and admit defeat. But, throughout the process, Tiny Tot and I have learned from every stage, every argument, every fit, and every debacle. We’re still learning, and we have a brand new stage to learn through.
As of this past weekend, my tiny human has entered this new stage of development: the preschool years. For some children, it only lasts with the age of four; others lasts through the age of five. Those lasting through the age of five are the unfortunate kiddos who missed that August deadline–you know, the ones whose mommies just didn’t plan their life “that well.”
I’m one of those mommies.
My poor September child.
The most significant aspect of preschool years that I’ve noticed is the growth spurt, paired with whininess, and a renewed effort at asserting independence. My household now consists of, “No, I can do it!!!” followed shortly thereafter by, “Mooooooommy, I need heeeeeeeelp.”
Most of the whining stems from napping no more. Yes, he’s given up naps. So fun. Some of his whininess comes from Mommy’s need of control, and his need to be completely independent … while still being a tiny human. Still more is from the never-ending growth spurt (we just officially outgrew 4T pants, and the apex of summer meets fall … yay), and the desire to be a “big boy.”
But there’s a wishy-washy aspect to the need to grow up that I’ve also noticed. Tiny Tot can wake up, play alone by himself, get dressed by himself, brush his teeth, wash his hands, flip on lights, and entertain himself without getting in trouble while Mommy gets ready for work. If I offer help, he negates it. If I suggest an idea, he waves his hand in dismissal, with an, “Actually, Mommy … I can … .”
His way, his world, his growing.
Until something happens, and he needs me again. Whether it’s to find a missing toy, to put on a broken toy arm, to pour milk, make a sandwich, or–my favorite–to snuggle, my tiny person still has just as many dependent moments, when the one person he needs is his mommy.
I cherish those moments, because I am utterly selfish.
Or a mom.
Depends on the view’s of the person reading this post, I guess.
Those moments of need, of dependence, will change–given time–and I know that. I will have to give up the snuggles, and morph into the mommy that just doesn’t understand what her son son is going through. There’s time for that.
I believe it’s called, “The Teenage Years.”
Until then, we’re still growing, learning, and wading through the waters of tiny humandom. So as we’re embarking in this new stage, and though I’m sad to say goodbye to yet another childhood moment, I’m excited to embrace what we’ll learn through the next year … or two.