There are many things with parenting that get overlooked because most parents are working with small sample sizes. If you have one or two kids, any single behavior or circumstance could be routine or exceptional and you wouldn’t know because of a lack of available comparisons. Even adding in the kids of friends and family, you’re still dealing with a small sample size and significant variables.
We have six boys. While this is still a small sample, going through the terrible twos six times provides a solid amount of evidence to speculate, at least in a local newspaper column, on what is typical. Case in point: the terrible twos is a misnomer. It is definitely the terrible 15-month-old time frame. The irritability, teething and terribleness people say is at age 2 is from 15 to 30 months. The baby is 16-months-old and has confirmed this.
I asked my wife to think of the stages kids go through that people don’t talk about. Not the rolling, crawling, walking stuff but the stages we (she) recognizes as part of regular child development and moms everywhere can relate to but aren’t as obvious as walking and talking.
She started to talk about all sorts of things she’s seen again and again, like the “funny little tongue” stage where a baby sticks out just the tip of their tongue and smiles around 4 months old. And the teeth grinding stage, which is as awful as it sounds.
And then she just launched into this list:
• The having a blowout that goes up their back in early infancy stage.
• The can’t fall asleep in public places anymore stage.
• The drool monster stage.
• The throwing spoons, forks and plates because they know it’s bad stage.
• The soaking through diapers at night stage (also known as the buy 1-2 sizes up stage).
• The sleeps with butt in the air stage.
• The wearing sunglasses and thinks it’s the funniest thing in history stage.
• The transition to wearing T-shirts instead of onesies milestone.
• The ability to wipe themselves stage (also known as the game-changer stage).
There are dozens and dozens more, but you get the picture. When you see it over and over again, experience begins to inform your assessment of what is normal. It’s the same reason my wife and I can diagnose croup, post-virus rash and when not to freak out over a nosebleed. We’ve been there and done that so many times we know “normal” without even having to see it.
Which comes with some other perks, too.
If you have to call the doctor and can start a sentence with, “we have six kids and this has never happened before …,” you tend to get assistance more quickly.
You also gain some perspective knowing that even the challenging stages are normal and won’t last forever. You’ve been through it before, it will be OK. But just in case, always have a couple extras onesies with you during that blowout stage.
Harris and his wife live in Pflugerville with their six sons. Please email comments or suggestions for future columns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Daddy Days: The kid stages no one talks about