This is a column I wrote about a year ago. I remembered it this week as our son lost his third tooth. In honor of this special milestone, I decided to let him create his own recipe for Snaggletooth Pie. This is what he came up with (recipe at bottom).
My son has finally mastered the art of snapping his fingers. He began trying to snap sometime in the spring around his 6th birthday, and he worked almost obsessively until he figured out the perfect technique. He now snaps all the time with both hands, and that is no exaggeration. He snaps first thing in the morning, while taking a bath, while kicking a soccer ball, and while eating dinner. There are times when I want to yell, “Will you please stop all that snapping!” but I know better than to squelch his enthusiasm. Like the time when he first learned to tie his shoes, or the time he learned to count to 100, this new ability is the source of great pride.
Childhood is made up of a series of memorable milestones and children love to show off their tricks and talents to others. This summer, both my kids have hit several childhood milestones for which they are very proud. My four year old daughter has learned to jump off the diving board and swim to the side of the pool, she can now buckle herself in her booster seat, and she can spread peanut butter on her bread. If you don’t believe me, try asking her if she wants help, then plug your ears as she yells, “I can do it ALL BY MYSELF!”
I realize that these successes, as well as many others, are sort of like childhood rites of passages and I can’t help as a parent but to also feel great pride in their little victories. But unlike the baby toddler milestones, walking, talking, potty training, these benchmarks seem to be coming at an accelerated rate. When my kids first learned to walk for instance, my husband and I dragged the praise out for weeks. Wherever we went, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends cheered as our baby showed off and we all basked in the glory until it became worn out.
As my children are growing, it seems that they are learning new things every day. So quickly are they picking up new skills that some things even go unnoticed.
“You know how to braid your dolls hair? When did you learn that?” I found myself saying to my daughter recently.
So when my nephew who is 8, recently lost his two front teeth and my children suddenly began noticing their own teeth and wiggling them, I had to stand up and do something drastic. From now on, I told my kids, they are no longer allowed to:
2. Learn new tricks without spending weeks practicing
3. And finally, under no circumstances are they allowed to stop calling me “mommy” or stop giving goodbye hugs.
My ultimatum seemed fair and clear, if not a little ridiculous. Unfortunately, I have little control over the speed at which my children grow and mature. None of us does.
A friend of mine recently told me that her son exclaimed one day in the car, “Mom, I am over half way towards being an adult.” To this my friend quickly replied, “No way! You are nowhere near to being an adult.” But then he explained his reasoning. Since he is 9 and a half and since 18 is technically the age of an adult, he is halfway there. My friend is still in shock.
I have heard and read research that says that because of technology, children are maturing faster than ever before. Children are exposed to new ideas, pop-culture, and fads far more frequently than we were. As a result, the typical 12 year old for instance, acts more like a 15 year old might have when we were growing up.
As children are growing up faster, adults seem to be busier than ever. We have distractions of our own: iphones, ipads, Facebook, Twitter and more, on top of the typical work day and chores of family life.
So when the milestones come and go for my children, as they surely will, I hope I can be awake enough and in tune enough to notice.
And then I will make sure I spend the next several weeks posting pictures and comments about them on Facebook :).
1 box Vanilla Wafer Cookies
1/2 stick butter melted
2 tablespoons sugar
2 boxes jello chocolate pudding
4 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Crush Vanilla Wafers in food processor and add butter slowly. Add sugar, mix again, and then press crumbs into 9 inch pie dish. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes. Let crust cool for about 30 minutes.
Follow directions on pudding box only use half the amount of milk. This will make pudding slightly more firm in pie and it will have a stronger chocolate taste. Pour heavy whipping cream in mixer and set on medium speed until cream forms stiff peaks. Add vanilla extract and then spoon whipped cream onto pie. Chill pie for 30 minutes before serving.