Growing Up Before My Eyes


Have you ever seen your child grow older right before your eyes? It recently happened to me, as I witnessed my son pass an important milestone — the end of Toddler Talk.

We were coming home from preschool, and JJ says the word “three.” Not “free,” not “tree,” but “THHHree.” In the span of a few seconds, he snatched the “T” and the “H” from his stack of baby blocks, sending the whole pile tumbling around his proud, yet nostalgically sad, Dad.

I could tell he’d been working on it at school, and was trying to speak with much precision and purpose. On the remainder of the drive, I asked him questions that required an answer with a “TH” word. When we got home, I pulled out my phone to document his accomplishment to share with Grandma, who’s an English professor. And also Grandma. We ran through a couple of the words we’d already practiced, and then I sprung a new one on him, resulting in some pretty big belly laughs from Dear Old Dad…

As we sat in my car and I watched him make these new sounds with so much determination, I saw my little boy transform into a Big Boy. It was like watching a recording of my son from the future… or a completely different kid altogether, who just happened to have the same bright, blue eyes and penchant for Batman. He was leaving his babyhood behind in one fell thwoop.

And as I watched his mouth move, it began to look foreign to me. I was seeing parts of his face that didn’t exist before that. The new way his upper lip curved, the gums above his two front teeth, his steely gaze as he mastered this thistly pair of consonants. It was amazing and a little heartbreaking at the same time…

If you didn’t watch the video till the end, go back and do it now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. That look on my son’s face when he conquers the final word, that confident clap of his hands — it floors me every time I re-watch it. I’ve seen him happy, sad, angry, scared — all the basic human emotions he’d perfected his first few months of life. But this was my first time experiencing pride. Not conceitedness or the satisfaction of getting his way, but a sense of true self-awesomeness that came from achieving something all on his own.

Way to go, buddy! Now PWEEZE SYOW DOWN.

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What moment in your child’s life do you look back and say, THERE — that’s when my baby grew up? Or if you’d rather share a really cute way they used to say something before they grew up and got all less adorable, I’m cool with that, too.

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Are you already a fan of Designer Daddy’s Facebook page? If not, time to get on your Big Boy pants and come play!


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