So my baby turns 5 on Sunday.
And yes, you’re not the only one who thinks of this when you hear someone refer to non-infants as babies.
You’ll probably hear more about E. turning 5 than you’ll care to over the next few days (don’t say you haven’t been warned), but I had a startling realization tonight. Since E. is turning 5, does that mean I have to give up some of my favorite “baby” things now?
Like what? Like the following:
1. Her stroller.
We rarely use the stroller anymore. In fact, it’s used almost exclusively at one place — Disney World. And yeah, it’s beginning to look a bit absurd.
Dear parents who I used to judge before I had my own child — I humbly apologize for every side-eyed glance I gave you for still hauling your non-toddlers around in strollers. I had no idea just how crucial they were in places like Disney. To be honest, E. rarely rides in it once we get there. She hops in for the (long) trips to and from the car, but usually it serves another purpose at the parks — storing our bag with an extra outfit and snacks while we go on rides. A lot of times, we’ll park it in one spot for a couple hours, then come and grab it when we’re ready for snacks or to move to another section of the park.
And I’m not ready to give up my pack mule. I know it looks ridiculous for this long-limbed child to ride around in it, but I don’t care. You’ll have to pry my Maclaren from my cold, dead hands. Or, at the very least, push my 13-year-old out of it.
2. The Baby Monitor
This is one item that my husband constantly mocks me for, but frankly, I’m too addicted to it to give it up. Over the past five years, it’s become almost a white noise machine to me. And since I had my child in the dark ages, ours is just an audio monitor. The good thing is that it somehow feels slightly less creepy and intrusive that way.
If the receiver gets unplugged in our room for some reason (usually because the cat pulled it out of the socket), something will bother me at bedtime until I realize what it is. There have been times when I’ve been dead tired and still gotten out of bed and crossed the room to plug it back in.
I’ve got a fever that only the sounds of my daughter tossing and turning in her sleep can cure.
Besides, it’s brought me so much joy over the years.
For starters, when E. was 2 or 3, I convinced her I had Magic Mommy Ears thanks to the monitor. I heard her do or say something in there when she was playing and dropped that information on her later. She was freaked out. That’s just called good parenting.
Even when she became aware of the monitor, it still never really clicked for her that it was the source of all my knowledge. I pray I’ll always be able to trick her like that.
The monitor has also given me a front-row seat to her nightly concerts. Here’s one I recorded on my phone last summer.
The baby monitor was also crucial to me overhearing the “there’s no Tooth Fairy” conversation. This is useful information my friends.
I suppose one of these days I’ll have to give E. some privacy and pull the plug. Or just hide it better. Hey, it worked out OK for this crew … for awhile at least.
3. Her play kitchen.
I have such a love-hate relationship with E’s play kitchen.
I hate it because it takes up SO much space in our tiny house. We’ve moved it several times over the years but everywhere it goes, it just takes up an obscene amount of precious real estate.
The problem is that she’s loved it since day 1.
We bought this for E. off of Craig’s List for about $100 (including ALL the food, dishes, utensils, etc) when she was 2 1/2 and I’m pretty sure she’s played with it nearly every day since then. Over the years, her play has definitely developed from just putting things in and out of all the drawers and cabinets to running a full restaurant out of there (she’s even made her own menus).
It’s really been such a great learning tool. We’ve used it to teach our picky eater about fruits and vegetables, practiced math and money skills when she’s tried to charge me 400 “monies” for my meal of a donut and a tomato slice and read labels on all the random food items that came with it (the collection was heavy on British staples like marmalade and beans).
I know the kitchen isn’t necessarily a “baby” toy but perhaps it’s because we’ve had it for so long that it seems to me its days of use must be dwindling, right?
I’ve already warned Katy that whether she wants it or not, she’s getting it. Originally I thought we’d be ready to get rid of it by this last Christmas, but E and DadJovi protested. So I’ve mentally decided that next Christmas is the absolute deadline.
Somehow, though, I think I may be overruled again.
That’s OK. As long as she’s still playing with it that means she’s still my baby, right?
Moms and dads — any baby items you’ve been reluctant to give up? Or, for everyone, is there something you’ve held onto — clothes, shoes, random objects — that you’ve held onto for years past their prime?