Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bursting the Bubble: Kids Grow Up

Written by, Bernadyn Nettles


  20 Questions from a Preschooler


What’s a preschooler’s favorite game?  In my house, it’s playing 20 questions.  My son doesn’t realize what he’s doing, he's just inquisitive.  Sometimes, the questions he asks are bizarre but other times they make great discussion topics to enhance his learning (and mine, too).  Always, they catch me off guard but I try to answer as best as I can. One question he recently asked was about growing up.  That is when I realized that he was unaware that he would one day grow up.  Ignorance is bliss.

Parenting, Preschool, Mom

Kids Really Do Grow Up

My son once asked me, “Mommy, why did you grow up?”  He made it sound as if I had an actual choice to grow up which made me a little sad because I knew I had to tell him the truth, that everyone has to grow up.  We can’t stay kids forever.  I felt like I was bursting the bubble, revealing a humongous secret like Santa Claus isn’t real which for him, Santa is very real!

***Caution: Spoiler Alert if you haven't seen Toys Story 3***

We were recently reading the book, Toy Story 3 and he asked more questions: “Why couldn’t Andy keep his toys?  Why were they going to the attic?” 

I explained to him that Andy wasn’t a kid anymore, he was too old to play with those toys. He replied with another question, “Oh, he likes games now?”  He was referring to video games and it made me a bit sad when he said that because the same thing is happening with him.  He has become more interested in games and would rather play with them over toys.  He doesn’t yet realize that Toy Story is the story of his life…he, too, will one day put his toys in the attic.

By the way, did you realize it had been 15 years between the first installment of Toy Story to the third one?  I was in fifth grade when the first one came out and by the time the third one was released, I had my own little boy.  In a way, we adults grew up alongside the movie and we can see how the toys along with Andy grew, too.

Photo source: thestorydepartment.com
Toy Story: 1995

Photo source: disneybaby.com
Toy Story 3: 2010
While watching the movie, Toy Story 3, I compared Andy to my son, making the movie even more bitter sweet for me to watch.  I got misty-eyed during the scene when Andy’s mom took in Andy’s bare room after he packed.  The walls were visible again, bringing us back to the first movie when we first met Andy and the toys.  Those walls had become covered over the years as he grew from a young boy to a teen to a college student.  I could totally relate to what his mom was feeling…her little boy growing up, leaving behind his toys, bed room and childhood.

Photo source: fanpop.com
This will be what my son's room will look like in a couple years...
He's already wanting to move out of his toddler bed to a bigger bed.

Photo source: fanpop.com

Photo source; fanpop.com
I'm going to feel the same way as Andy's mom when my son
goes off to college or whenever he moves out.
The reality that my little boy will one day grow up is growing more real for me especially when he tells me he is no longer interested in a certain toy.  I reminisce how he used to smile when he played with it or remember how much he begged me to buy it for him.  

Isn’t it funny how we as parents sometimes hold onto our child’s things more than they do? I'm still holding on to his school work and art work in boxes from his last two years of preschool.  It’s interesting how the toys in the movie were having a hard time letting go of Andy, too.  

Thankfully, Andy found a new child for them to grow to love.

Photo source: underscoopfire.com
I know I need to learn to cope with reality, just like Andy’s toys did at the end of the movie; they finally accepted that Andy was no longer a child so they let him go.  I'm learning that a big part of parenting is about learning how to let go so your kids can grow and move forward.  

Another question my son loves to ask me: 

"Mommy, you don't want me to grow because I'll leave you?"  

Then, he reassures me that he doesn't want to grow because he wants to stay with me forever.  Maybe bursting the bubble that kids grow up is really for the parents ...and the kid's toys!  I feel like I'm the one who is going to be left behind and one day, I'll be the one asking 20 questions about his life whenever he calls or visits!

What’s the hardest thing you had to let go?  Do you still have toys you kept from your own childhood?  

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