Despite all the inevitable changes your kid will certainly go through, they're pretty quick to remind you that, regardless of their age, they'll always be your baby. In the same way your mom probably still thinks of you as her baby, even after you've become a mom yourself, there's really no way to look at your growing little one and not see the tiny newborn you brought into the world. My advice? Just try your best not to tell your kid that when they're 16 and you're dropping them off at school.
The moment I realized my baby was growing up was when he self-weaned. He was half-way through his second year and I found the entire process to be pretty emotional. In many ways I was also ready for the transition, but it was just more proof that my little guy was changing. Shortly afterwards he started pre-school and, once he was bringing home crafts and making new friends, I knew I had a preschooler on my hands, instead of a baby.
I love looking back at my son's baby photos and remembering just how tiny he really was. Still, I am always reminded that he is still my little guy in many ways. He still needs me, my love, my protection and advocacy, and for me to build him up and give him confidence to go out into the big world. So, when you feel like your kid is growing up a little too quickly, just remember that in more ways than one and regardless of their age, they'll always be your baby.
When They're Sick
Everyone looks a little pathetic when they're not feeling well. In fact, the one thing most of us want when we're under the weather, is to be looked after by our mom. As you queue up your kid's favorite TV show, grab them a blanket and some snacks and cuddle up together on the couch.
When They Get Hurt
The first thing any kid does when they get hurt, no matter their age, is call for mom. Seeing your child hurt or bleeding is incredibly upsetting for any parent, but it also makes you realize that (to you) they will always be your precious baby.
When They Fall Asleep In The Car
The hallmark of the baby stage seems to be sleeping anywhere and everywhere. So when your big kid falls asleep in the car, and you have to lift their floppy little body out of the car and into the house, you are reminded of just how small and vulnerable they still are.
When They're An Idealist
My son had a panic-filled realization recently, when he figured out that his chicken dinner was made from an actual chicken. He started saying, "But you can't eat animals. They won't like that."
It was like his whole world view was being challenged, and it made him seem so small and innocent.
When They're Not Logical
As your kid moves out of the toddler stage and starts to behave more like a mini-adult, it can be easy to forget they're still developing and are not yet capable of the same level of impulse control and logical thought as an actual adult.
As much as little tantrums and meltdowns may be frustrating for parents, nothing makes you realize just how small your child still is than when they demand summer starts right now because they want to wear their sandals today.
When They Talk To Their Soft Toys
When my little boy has whole conversations with his stuffed toys, it makes me smile and shows how small and young he still is. I like to listen at the door, unseen, and feel smug as he says all my little sayings to his collection of furry friends.
When They're Scared
Whether it's a bad dream, a scary scene in a movie, or a dramatic thunderstorm, when your kid covers their face and calls for their mommy it's easy to see them as your brand new babe and not as a big kid at all.
When They Snuggle With You
I recently took my son to the movie theater for the first time and was rewarded with a 90 minute cuddle as he sat on my lap. As he has become an active little boy our snuggle time has dwindled, so this was such a special and rare treat and allowed me to see him as my little baby again.
It really doesn't matter how old they get, we will always love and protect our little one's because that's what being a mom is all about.