Keeping ’em young

My daughter is nearly 7. She is gorgeous and cute and adorable. She is my baby.

I’m aware I treat her differently to the way I treated my sons when they were nearly 7. Because she’s the youngest and that’s just what you do with the youngest. I hope I don’t treat her younger than she is, I don’t think I do. I used to laugh at parents lifting 7 and 8 year olds out of the car and carrying them into the house or who sat their 7 and 8 year olds in booster seats (not booster cushions) in the car like pre-school kids. But now I get it. My girl is my baby. She’s a lot bigger than a real baby. She’s clever and funny and independent and good at whatever she tries to do. But she’s still my baby. (Although she’s had a booster CUSHION for well over a year.)

So I find myself picking her up without realising. She likes me to pick her up out of bed in the morning and lift her into bed at night and I like doing it – even though she’s getting really heavy.

My eldest probably hasn’t been lifted into or out of bed since he came out of a cot, poor kid. Yet strangely in many ways he is far less independent than his sister.

I like to buy her clothes that look like little girls’ clothes, not mini teenagers’ clothes. Clothes that a toddler could also wear. Sadly now she’s grown out of all the little girl ranges and is in the ranges that go up to 12. Or 16.

I want her to stay young because she is young. She doesn’t need to grow up in a hurry. She’s happy as a little girl and I’m happy with her as a little girl.

But I realised it’s not just her. There’s a scale and it applies to my younger son too to a lesser extent.

My younger son is 9. He’s almost as big as his brother and is so clever and funny and good at sport. He seems so much older than his years. But he’s my little boy.

When my eldest was 9 I bought him his first Superdry. I LOVE Superdry for myself and was keen for my son to wear it too. Buying it for my son felt like a rite of passage. My boy was growing up. It was a cap because the Tshirts were too big. The ladies’ extra small would have fitted him, but they were clearly ladies’ Tshirts. Not a good look on a 9 year old boy. When he was just 10 he got a Superdry shirt – a ladies’ extra small, but you can’t tell it’s a ladies’.

I wouldn’t dream of buying my younger son Superdry. Because, despite his incredible maturity and intelligence,Β he seems too young. When I see kids of his age wearing Superdry I think they are way too young for it. Although it was fine for my own son two years previously.

When I shop for clothes for my younger son I look for yellow things and Angry Birds and Lego. Because he’s a little boy. That’s what he likes.

Like his sister, he’s growing up at his own pace. Being mature or intelligent doesn’t mean you have to leave childish things behind or dress like a teenager.

I’m not forcing them to be younger than they are, I’m not keeping them as eternal toddlers, but nor am I forcing them to grow up too soon.

What do you think? Do we as parents make our kids grow up soon? Do we treat younger children differently from older children? Does society force our kids to grow up too fast?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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11 Comments

  1. My youngest is 24 and I still treat him differently from my eldest. He himself is always telling me to cut the apron strings but it is very difficult as I think you cling on to the fact they are still your baby no matter how old they are. Incidentally my son left home at 18 for Uni and never returned home so after 6 years I should appreciate that he is doing just fine, renting a flat, has a job and a huge network of friends!

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  2. I am the eldest of 3, I have 2 younger brothers and my youngest brother is now 29 and sill my mums baby. She doesn’t Molly coddle him but you can tell she worries about him and he has always been very close to her. We all love our mum and are loved in our own special way – me because I’m the first born, my middle brother is the free spirit and the youngest is the one that’s always been a bit more protected by all of us. I think you should just enjoy it πŸ™‚ she is your special little girl and one day will become your best friend!

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  3. Thanks very much for your comments, I really appreciate them. It seems there is a theme here… My sister is 30, but my mum still treats her differently from me!
    Love that you say one day she’ll be my best friend, Tas. I do hope so!

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  4. You can’t help but treat siblings differently πŸ˜‰ they act it too! When I get in a room with my sister it takes about 10 minutes before every member of my family regresses about 15 years lol x just gotta go with whatever I reckon πŸ˜‰ xxx

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  5. This is a really interesting subject – the other aspect is that your first is not contaminated by the age-inappropriate stuff of siblings! My four year old was all about Night Garden etc, we had no concept of what older children were into. My newborn from day one has been surrounded by Star Wars Lego, Scooby Doo, the amazing world of his older brother’ imaginative play…as an oldest child myself I can’t imagine what it’s like to have an older sibling. Watching them will be fascinating. I don’t want either of them to grow up, but in other ways I also feel it just gets better and better….

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  6. Society definitely forces our children to grow up too fast. I am definitely in the camp of ‘keeping them young’ – my daughter only got her first Superdry item a few weeks ago and she is 12! Everything else is still children’s wear but my kids are all small (much to their disgust!). My little boy will always be my baby and as with you, he wears Angry Birds, Mario Bros and Lego Star Wars….he couldn’t care what he wears, so that’s a bonus! My girls still play with Sylvanians (shh!) and I love that πŸ™‚

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  7. I am very conscientious about not dressing my just turned three year old daughter as a little woman or teen. I absolutely love clothes, trends and fashion. But childhood is so precious and so short, that I want her to have the chance to be a proper little girl. She’ll have the rest of her life to be a trend-setter or whatever style path she takes, this is her time to wear children’s clothing and look great in them.

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  8. Society forces our kids to grow up too quick I saw a T-shirt for a 2 or old with sexy written on it to me that’s wrong. I want my girls to be their age and not to be forced to grow up too quick

    Thisdayilove

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  9. Thanks very much, everyone! Glad I’m not the only one who thinks this. A 2 year old Tshirt (or even a 14 year old) with ‘sexy’ on it is just plain wrong.
    Claire – that’s a good point about the younger kids coming into the world and immediately being surrounded by their older siblings’ stuff. My daughter aged 18 months liked nothing better than to watch ‘Horrid Henry’ – which she called ‘ner ner’.
    Your boy is like mine, Suzanne, it’s a good way to be! Eldest informed me in year 4 that he wouldn’t be wearing character clothes any more, but I reckon my younger son will be wearing them at least in year 5. Year 6 is a different ball game of course!

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  10. HI Bev, thanks very much for following and welcome! I will pop over and visit your blog.

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