I don’t know if this is rare in children, or if it will change in a couple of years, but my son, who is almost 4, is in no hurry to grow up. And I love it. For a while this year, whenever someone called him a “big boy,” E would stomp his foot and be quite adamant. “I’m not a big boy. I’m a little boy!” he would shout.
Now that he has finally resigned himself to potty training and the world of Toy Story and Cars underwear this summer, E is not as upset about being called a big boy, but he’s still very clear about the levels of big boyhood. He repeatedly asks for assurances from my husband and me that he will watch Spiderman when he’s older. Other than that interest, however, he is perfectly happy being his age–being a little big boy. He likes his freedoms. He accepts his limitations. He enjoys being a helper. He loves just being. E is a model for living in the moment.
Over the past month or two, E has even turned being young into an excellent excuse for putting off all that causes discomfort or fear. When faced with eating an undesired food, going potty in a public restroom, or doing anything too noisy or frightening, he calmly states, “I’ll do that when I’m bigger.” No regret. No self-judgement. E is perfectly comfortable with where he’s at in life.
While certainly as a mother, I want E to explore new things and gain confidence as he ventures into this world, I also am comforted by the fact that he is clinging so greatly to his early childhood. I know already how quickly these years are slipping by us. So many times, I’ve teasingly admonished E and his sister for growing too fast. I’m grateful E is willing to stay my little boy for at least a little longer.
Of course, I still have the typical motherly worries of how E will do in school, whether he’ll have friends, and if he’ll be nice to others and make good decisions. Instead of dwelling on those concerns, I need to follow E’s lead and live in the moment too. I need to look at bugs with him, blow bubbles, listen to his stories, and take every single request for a snuggle. When my son is so deeply entrenched in living the good life on his (almost) four year old terms, I might as well join him! Those other worries? I can face them when I’m bigger.