One evening, I was working and Mikey and Max were watching The Incredibles. I took a quick break to plant kisses on the toddler and to catch one of my favorite scenes (Edna slapping Elastigirl).
Max ignores me and I go back to work. A few minutes later, Max looks at me with a serious, almost angry, face and says, “Maxie big boy, not baby. Maxie Dash.”
Mikey and I were stunned in that did-that-just-happen kind of way (this happens a lot now BTW). We were silent for a while and then we started laughing in disbelief. Did our two year old really just say he was a big boy?
Yes, he did. And he’s been saying that a lot. Max is starting to develop his self-concept. Mostly, I’ve observed that he’s been able to articulate his categorical self. He can tell us what he thinks he is or isn’t. It’s so fascinating.
Here are some phrases he has said relating to his categorical self:
- Maxie not baby, Maxie big boy
- Maxie not scared, Maxie brave
- Maxie so funny
Aside from this, he’s also getting better at recognizing others’ emotions. Whenever he does something to upset me, he’ll say, “Mama no sad. Mama happy please.” And he’ll literally try to turn my frown upside down with his tiny (usually sticky) fingers.
Or, when Mikey was upset because the internet went bonkers during WrestleMania, Max went up to him and said, “Papa, no more sad! Papa smile! Papa happy!” And he ran back to me and reported, “Mama, Papa smile! Hooray!”
Beneath his tornado tendencies, Squish is really such a sweet boy. ❤
After Max started self-identifying as a big boy, we noticed that it got easier to get him to do certain things.
For example, it’s no longer a struggle to get him to sit in his car seat. We explained that all big boys (like Papa and Mama) have to wear their seatbelt in the car. After we said that, he quietly accepted his fate for the rest of the car ride. The first time though, he asked me to sit next to him and hug him while he was strapped in. But the next time, I got to sit in front with Mikey. That was a huge breakthrough for us!
We also use the “big boy” argument to get him to walk or sit in his stroller. We told him that since he’s a big boy, he’s getting too heavy to carry. So he has the option to either walk or sit in his stroller. He usually sticks with whatever he chooses and it means a lot less drama for us.
I’m 90% amused and loving this phase, and about 10% (maybe 15…or 20) sad and nostalgic. I can’t believe how this little human is unfolding before our eyes.