Around this time last year I was lamenting about the end of my son’s early childhood. I was so so sad. I knew how much I was going to miss carrying him around with ease, his delicate baby features, and hearing about his imaginary friend Sammy. Admitting there would undoubtedly be joy in each phase of childhood to look forward to didn’t stop the whimpering in the laundry room while clutching his tiny pajamas. The feels were strong folks. And then this summer happened. Cue the trumpets, cloud parting and ugly crying. The summer when we watched this sweet baby of ours metamorphose into an actualized kid.
IT. WAS. MAGIC.
This summer we arrived, leveled up, 2.0 and the world is new! Certainly, there is no denying the unique wonder of watching your baby take the first steps and utter those first sweet words. Those singular moments are the ones we anticipate and record with the greatest care. But believe me there are childhood markers that straight change your game even if they don’t make the scrapbook.
Allow me to share the fanfreakingtastic childhood milestones I never knew I was waiting to happen. This summer my child began to:
Wipe His Own Booty
Sweet Cheeses, can I get an Amen?! One day he went into the bathroom after breakfast as per usual, and emerged some time later without asking for assistance. I was too preoccupied with little brother to notice for a while, but then it hit me. We had suddenly entered into the territory of independent wiping! He’s got that sh*t under control ya’ll. While the occasional quality assurance check is still necessary every now and then, it’s just a beautiful thing saying farewell to significantly less poop in my life.
Also in the personal care department: he began brushing his own teeth, bathing himself, and gelling his own hair. He may have used Vicks Vapor Rub for hair product a time or two, but progress is progress right?
I’m not kidding when I say that overnight the kid went from waiting for me to dress him, to coming out of his bedroom in the morning fully clothed ready to greet the day. His ensemble choices are a little hit and miss sometimes, I admit. There was a spirited discussion about the appropriateness of sweaters in July and ninja costumes for tennis practice, but he’s getting there. It’s insanely fun watching how pleased he is with himself. Seeing his glowing self-pride handily outweighs my inner cringe level at his frequent insistence on wearing alternating shades of red with neon yellow socks.
Netflix and Chill
It’s no secret that for most of us the screen is the best of friends when there is dinner to cook, showers to sneak, and blogs posts to write. But the happy day is coming when you no longer have to painstakingly plod through what’s trending as your kid rejects every single option while your pasta water is over-boiling and the doorbell is ringing. One day the kid just casually picks up the apple tv remote and scrolls through the ‘watch again’ list like he was born for it. Though it doesn’t come without sacrifice. I’ve listened to ‘Sing’ more times than I can count in the last month, but that’s a small price to pay for pasta al dente.
Wild and Free
This summer I watched my son emerge from a general feeling of fright and clumsiness to launching himself off the diving board, swinging across monkey bars, and dangling upside down from tree branches like a 4ft. acrobat. That kid is fast as lightning, out running me now (for real) and hits a backhand on the tennis court that leaves his dad ducking for cover. You can genuinely see the coordination structure begin to set in, and it’s magnificent. It’s like watching a bird suddenly figure out it can fly!
Speaking of flying — true bewilderment followed by unbridled elation is the only possible way to describe my state of mind watching that little dude casually stroll through TSA security and pull his own suitcase through the airport like a boss. And then seeing him quietly playing video games for an entire flight was almost more than I could stand. Never mind, there was still a grubby twoish toddler writhing all over me whilst continually slamming the tray table up and down and kicking the seat in front of us. The point is I have seen the future, and it is grand.
Unexpected Wins and Chagrins
Additional developments we saw this summer include figuring out how to get himself a snack with and without permission. I couldn’t begin to calculate the amount of time saved with the ability to complete tasks uninterrupted by the never-ending snack requests. It outweighs occasionally fishing cheddar bunnies from under the pillow and the one time I caught him mowing down on a huge wedge of watermelon while on the toilet.
But the moment this summer I really knew that we had reached a whole new level of childhood brain development and that we had better step it up fast was about two weeks ago. A day that, for this family, will live in infamy when an industrial size shipment of applesauce arrived at our doorstep in that snarky smiling Amazon prime box like it knew something I didn’t. Turns out, it did. I didn’t order any applesauce, my husband didn’t either. As I was penning my message of couched rage to customer service about the mistake, my four year old skips into the kitchen and says ‘Yay! I told Alexa I wanted some applesauce and she sent it to me. She’s just like Christmas!!’