“I’m a baby. No, I’m a big boy”: Saying goodbye to those early baby stages

Boy on swing

There was a time, not so long ago, when my son didn’t know if he wanted to be a baby or a big boy when we visited the playground.

Depending on his mood, he’d either run towards the baby or the big boy swing. Now he favours the straight swing but it’s more a result of getting his shoes get stuck in the little one’s holes than because he’s 100 per cent on board with becoming a preschooler.

A time of transition

The longer I’m on this parenting journey, the more I’m learning that stages overlap. One minute my youngest will want me to cuddle and sing to him for an hour and the next he’ll push me away like I’m intruding on his personal space. Likewise, my eldest will sleep all night on his own and then the next night he’ll hop into mummy and daddy’s bed, needing a reassuring cuddle to get back off to sleep.

I actually find it endearing, this switching between babyhood, toddlerhood and at times it feels like adulthood. But I do secretly cherish the moments when they want to spend a little time in Babydom.  

Happy and sad

While on the one hand I am super proud to see my boys become more independent, develop life skills and their own coping mechanisms, on the other I’m a little sad. They are growing up.

When I see them trot off to daycare with their little backpacks on, I feel a surge of pride but also a pang of, “Oh no, this too will pass soon”. It feels like yesterday that I was breastfeeding them off to sleep and now they are little boys bringing home their latest painting masterpiece for the fridge.

Mum kissing baby

I can’t stop time

Yes, they are growing up. Yes, I want to press pause on each stage of their early childhood but I can’t. Our babies will grow up no matter how much we want to stop or slow it down. And it’s right that they do. After all, we are doing them a disservice if we are still trying to tie their shoelaces when they’re in high school!

Onwards and upwards

So rather than the quiet mourning of the passing of one stage, I am trying to take a chin-up approach to them growing up. I will cherish them wanting to stay my bubbas (I mean, they always will be) but I’ll also gently encourage them to take those next steps. I have their backs and one day, they’ll have mine. 

Mum hugging daughter

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