For twelve long years I was the youngest member of my extended family, not to mention six years younger than my siblings.
I got really tired of everyone treating me like a baby. And I really couldn't stand how every single person at every single family reunion would be so shocked to discover that I aged at the same rate as everyone else.
When my cousins were finally born, I vowed to age them in my memory so that I wouldn't be as surprised every time I saw them. (I was mostly successful, but the fact that one is now looking at colleges makes me feel incredibly old.)
For my own kids, I see them every day so you would think it wouldn't be a problem to keep tabs on their aging process. But here's the funny thing about your brain — neurons don't really age. This is why you can feel pretty much the same on the inside at 27 as you do at 72. The only thing that changes neurons is when you pay attention and then click! a new connection in your neural net is formed.
So I admit it's entirely possible that I feel this way because Malachi and JJ just got new haircuts on Monday, but I swear this week they are suddenly and irrevocably not babies anymore.
Overnight they have become interested in activities that I expect will continue on in some form or other for the next 10-16 years — play-fighting, saying "no," giggling at each other's silliness, asking me to turn on our (rarely watched) T.V., coloring, screaming, confidently grabbing my car keys, etc.
JJ (this is what we now call Jaden since we are annoyed at how many Jadens and Jaydens and Jaidens and Aidens and Haydens and Cadens and Bradens there are) in particular does all sorts of things that he didn't do last week. Yesterday, he gave me his first kiss ...and it didn't even matter that his face was covered in peanut butter at the time. He also follows me around going: "Mom, mom, mom." And — joy of all joys — I was treated to his first major temper tantrum... in a grocery store. This was not the whiny crab-apples attitude that may indicate boredom or hunger or sleepiness; they had just ate and slept. This was a full-scale, thrashing-around-in-my-arms, screaming-bloody-murder tantrum.
Why? Because I made him stop hurtling around the store with his tiny shopping cart for a second so I could look at tomatoes. I'm thinking this kid has got some major road rage in his future.
Sorry, buddy, you're not getting my car keys.