Just Like a Big Boy

As you practice crawling and walking, all in the spirit of play,
oblivious that I track your development through each interaction, I
often say, “Oh you sat up (as opposed to just sitting) just like a big
boy!” “You’re standing up just like a big boy!” Earlier, it was,
“You’re holding your head up just like a big boy!” “You’re sitting
(not sitting up yet) just like a big boy!” It’s an expression I have
used without a lot of forethought, which possibly means that I adopted
it from my mother. Now that I’m a mother myself, though still a new
one, I’ve often heard my mother’s expressions come out of my mouth
without effort.
So here’s the big question. When do you stop being “just like” a
big boy and actually become one?
Of course, the answer changes. While time can’t go fast enough
for you, it disappears all too quickly for your parents. And the
answer moves ever further into the future, as we cling to the little
you, hoping you won’t grow up just yet. When Sandi told me your
transition to the toddler room was beginning and I relayed the message
to your father, he said, “What? Did he do something wrong? Was he
too loud?” You happened to be screaming at the time. “No,” I said,
“I think there are other babies who are just as loud as he is.” The
big boy definition will change from your sleeping on a toddler mat to
your first independent steps to your first words to when you ride a
bike to when you walk to school alone to when your voice changes to
when you graduate from high school … It will also include the
negatives like your first tantrum or the day(s)? you cause trouble of
some kind. And of course, now “just like a big boy” means a little
boy instead of a baby, but later it will mean an adolescent, then a
young man. It’s all very exciting and strange, but I still cling to
this elusive baby, even as I am finding new ways to continue to mother
the ever-evolving you.

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One comment

  1. At our house, being a big boy has come when he protested being called a little boy (just this week, in fact) and at the ripe old age of 3 1/2 years old. As you say, it goes so quickly for us and not quickly enough for them.

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