Throughout my years as a childcare professional, I saw lots of kids treated inappropriately for their developmental age, often by well-meaning caregivers. It happened most often when a child was smarter, bigger, or more physically skilled than their chronological age might suggest. I knew one little girl who was startlingly intelligent and also tall for her age. She seemed like a six year old, which made it hard to remember that she was really only three. All her intelligence aside, emotionally she was definitely three, and accidentally treating her like a six year old led to many difficult situations for both her and her parents.
I also know that it’s common to address some skills at the toddler level as “big kid” skills. People say things like, “Hold your fork like a big kid, ” or “You’re a big kid now, you can do _______ yourself.” This has always mystified me a bit. Two is still very, very young! Hell, three, four, five, six… these are little kids we’re talking about here! What’s the rush?
With Dylan, I am committed to remembering his age and also not hurrying him along. I want to cherish each stage that he’s at rather than wish for and rush into the next stage. Right off the bat, though, he turned into a big baby. He was born in the 95th percentile for weight and he’s gone up from there. Now he’s 11 weeks old and weighs 17 1/2 pounds. That would be the 50th percentile for a 6 month old.
It’s a little hard to see him as the age he is, so I started calling him Tiny Baby. I pick him up and say, “Hello my tiny baby.” I snuggle him closely when he’s tired and say, “I’ve got you, Tiny Baby.” I don’t want to forgot that however big he seems, in truth he’s so, so small.
Since he is, in fact, only 11 weeks old, you’d think it’d be easy to remember that Dylan is a tiny baby. But what I realized is that with your kids, they’re always bigger. You get them on day one, and every single day after that, they’re bigger. Every day brings new skills, new expressions, new needs and desires, and they’re always bigger, faster, farther, higher, growing, advancing, more.
Compared to where they come from, all kids are “big kids”.
But Dylan has his whole life to be a big kid. Someday it will be silly to call him Tiny Baby. And even sooner than that, it will only be a couple of months before he, say, crawls. Whether or not I watch him now, eagerly awaiting that milestone, it’s going to arrive. So instead of spending my time right now with a baby-who-will-crawl-in-the-future,I want to spend my time with my tiny baby right now.
Dylan will be all kinds of things and do all kinds of things in the future. He and I will have countless awesome moments, over and over again. But this moment, this exact moment, is almost over. It’s so preciously important to not wish it away.
I love you, Tiny Baby.