When Does a Toddler Become a Kid?Beth Anne Ballance
This is my last month writing for Babble Toddler.
Which would sound sad, except I look at my little boy and I know that I’m not a toddler mom anymore. The crib and the Curious George single sheet are long packed away and in its place, a twin sized bed with construction sheets sits in my son’s blue room. The little sailboat mobile sits in a box and a metal vintage VW ban hangs on his wall. I find Matchbox cars under my feet, in my bed, and in my purse.
Heck, I even started buying actual kid shampoo instead of the baby body wash. (That was a huge step for me, as strange as it sounds. I mean…he can use conditioner!)
I haven’t bought a pack of diapers in well over six months and all the Little People toys are boxed away for any future children we may bring home. Instead, he picked out a dump truck lunch box and prefers to watch Superhero Squad on Netflix instead of a little monkey on PBS. He has a best friend and tells me when his feelings are hurt and carries on conversation over the dinner table.
So I may not be a toddler mom anymore, but I have to say, this kid thing is really amazing. These are some of the really freaking cute things that helped me realize I’m dealing with a kid, not a toddler:
He helps around the house 1 of 9
It used to be that my job was to take care of him and he was this darling human whose only contribution to our house was love and diapers. Now he helps set the table for dinner, feeds the dog, and helps with yard work (like picking up pine cones and sticks).
He is dressing himself 2 of 9
I mean, not all the way. But he can put on his pants and is about 75% of the way there with his shirt. He can undress himself. And he can put on his shoes all by himself. He's so proud of this, so it's not hard for me to feel like bursting with excitement over these new skills.
He earns allowance 3 of 9
Earlier this year, we started an allowance system with Harry where he can earn money to buy things he wants - like that giant crane truck pictured above. It took him several weeks and lots of chores to earn the money, but he was so proud. Total kid status.
He plays a sport 4 of 9
I knew the day would come when my husband and son would take off on Saturday morning to the driving range or golf course and guess what? It's here! Harry has his own irons that are actual irons, his own little bag that he carries on his back, and is diligent in learning the game from my husband. It takes a lot of maturity and patience to master this game, and he's doing it!
No more co-sleeping 5 of 9
Up until this summer, it was a fairly common occurrence to have Harry in bed with us by 3am. We didn't mind because we knew the day would come when he would want to be in his own bed all night...and that day is here. It's a little sad not to wake up next to his baby snores and snuggles, but it's also really cool to wake up with just my husband. Two thumbs up for this!
He’s seen a movie in the theater 6 of 9
I don't know why this felt like such a huge deal to me, but it did. Like a rite of passage into being a kid, complete with popcorn and him handing over his little ticket stub. I remember going to see my first movie and it's cool to think that he's probably going to have this memory tucked away in his mind.
He became fearless this summer 7 of 9
At the beginning of the summer, he didn't want to put his head underwater. Now he jumps off the side, goes off the diving board (with me there to catch him) and happily swims under the water. He made little friends at the pool and swung his legs on the side during break - all things that were marks of my own childhood.
Goodbye, crib! 8 of 9
Can we play a sad song on a tiny violin for the crib being tucked away? But I adore him having a big bed - I can lie beside him and read books instead of that uncomfortable kneel-squat that happened with the toddler bed.
He plays video games 9 of 9
He actually plays video games. That is so weird to me. Sure, we monitor his screen time and he only has a few games that we allow him to play, but when I see him playing Angry Birds on the iPad, it makes me do a double-take. Wasn't it yesterday that he was trying to stack soft blocks and pull up on the coffee table?
p.s. you’ll be able to find me over on Babble Kid next month & hopefully back on my personal blog soon, now that the pool season and lazy summer days are winding down!