Two Steps Forward, You Know The Rest

Last night at bath time, Michael declared, “I’m going to start washing my own body.”

I nodded along. I remain highly skeptical.

Make no mistake, children learning to bathe themselves is a huge milestone (and overlooked in childhood development books, as far as I’m concerned). I think Flora took her first solo shower when she was 7, and Kate was not far behind.

It is incredibly freeing.

They needed help at first to make sure their hair was getting washed and rinsed sufficiently. Then Kate especially needed to be reminded why she was in the shower (hint: not to play), and to not mislead me about the state of her hair (hint: wet is not washed). And, now, of course, they fight me about taking a daily shower, even though they only have to wash their hair every other day.

Now Flora is a fully independent shower-taker (and modest; she prizes her privacy at shower time, which Kate does not seem to understand yet). Kate still needs some supervision and the occasional nudge toward actually cleaning herself.

Michael doesn’t even like the shower. Bath time to him means playtime. Dan is trying to move him away from a bath to a shower; I tend to be a little more flexible — my baby! But there are some nights where I focus on bath and bed, and speed is more vital than playtime.

But, hey, sure. He’ll start washing his own body. Probably in a bath, and after I’ve soaped up a bath sponge for him. I’ll take it.

M after shower
“I brushed my own hair. Do I look handsome?” You do, buddy. How about some button pants?


The weekend of Mother’s Day, Michael declared he wanted to start wearing buttons.

I was utterly taken off guard, and somewhat excited.

Buttons! This would open a whole new realm of sartorial possibilities!

M stopped wearing buttons around 2, which many of my mom friends assured me was not unusual for boys. He didn’t like buttons on shirts OR pants, and he didn’t even like jeans very much. He’s been wearing a lot of tee shirts, “soft pants”, and shorts with elastic waists.

And then Mother’s Day weekend, he requested a shirt with buttons. Specifically, a polo shirt.

And that Sunday, he even wanted pants with buttons!

Which was a problem, because he doesn’t own pants with buttons, because buttons. He had a meltdown, and I promised to get him pants with buttons.

I unearthed shorts with buttons this past weekend, and guess what??

He doesn’t want pants or shorts with buttons.

Or *rather*, he wants buttons on his pants (or shorts), but only if they are SHIRT buttons.

Which makes sense to my 4-year-old boy’s mind, but not to mine.


What milestones do you look forward to that childhood development books overlook?