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Jun 8, 2010

"When I big...", Toddler aspirations

I can't remember when exactly this trend started, but for the last few weeks our 2-year old has clearly been focused on understanding the concept of age and what people do at different life stages. It might have come as a natural progression in his learning, or maybe as a result of our recent move (and the implications of having to reset some of the rules about what mom & dad can do in the new house vs. him), or it was most likely triggered by the birth of our daughter 5 weeks ago.
In any case, Daniel currently spends his time talking about "when I [am] big, I will do xxx" and about what he did when he was a baby.
He clearly understands that he is on a growth path, away from the baby stage, towards becoming what mom and dad are, or more. Things Daniel wants to do when he is big include: being able to turn on the oven himself, drinking beer, burping babies and becoming an astronaut(!). Yes, good ambitions already. I think this helps him deal with some of the restrictions and rules we impose on him. Instead of seeing them as punishment against him, he now understands that it's a matter of age, and a temporary thing for him (even though it will take years). It's much easier to accept that he can't play with the fireplace for instance, knowing that eventually, "when he is big", he will be able to do it.

In parallel, Daniel likes to confirm that, when he was a baby, he also did the same things as his sister currently does. This includes feeding at mommy's breast, lounging in the bouncy chair, crying and even having tummy pains. Yes, he really wants to make sure he didn't miss out on any of the baby experience! So far, he seems to be doing really well in terms of not being jealous towards the new baby. We think that understanding he went through the same baby phase himself helps him accept that we currently treat the baby differently from him. As long as he knows he was able to enjoy the bouncy chair or to nurse in mommy's arms in the past, he isn't trying to do it now. On the contrary, he knows he is now big, which has a lot of great perks: playing with other fun toys, eating a variety of good food.

It's been very interesting to watch how important this concept of growing has become for Daniel. It's a daily topic right now. Hopefully, this will help him continue to learn and being inspired to do great things when he is big. He will need to be patient, though, because some of the ideals he aspires to are still a long way ahead!

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