“Hi, my name is Gavin. My favorite color is blue. I love pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, hamburgers, and bananas. My favorite thing to do is draw and design video games. White and Nerdy by Weird Al Yankovic is my favorite song. When I grow up I want to be an inventor, design robots, make movies, and be a cartoonist. Today is my birthday.”
I can’t believe my little guy is 8 years old already! Each stage and age has always felt normal and natural to me. I’ve never really looked at Gavin and thought that the time has flown by. Until now. Maybe that’s part of the charm of him being the oldest. Everything made sense until this birthday. I’m really not ok with him turning 8 years old. It helps that he is still hugging Ted E. Bear, the stuffed animal Gavin claimed as his own in infancy. All these years later that bear is still wearing the tiny little outfit given to me by a coworker at my baby shower. Gavin wore that outfit.
He is still a young boy even though it feels like the end of an era for him to turn 8. All my years of child development classes taught me that the pre-operational stage of childhood ends around age 8. For whatever reason this is my favorite stage of childhood. In college I found it very interesting to learn that there is an actual chemical change in children’s brains at age 8. The window for this change is anywhere from a month or so before the 8th birthday to a month or so after. Children have better reasoning skills and concrete understanding. I remember hearing that and having an a-ha moment. My religious beliefs are that children are blameless until the age of accountability, which God has determined is age 8. This is why we don’t baptize babies or young children. We believe that once a child is 8 years old they are mature enough to understand the decision of baptism and be responsible for their choices. Click here to read more about what Mormons believe about baptism.
Most mothers miss being needed by their infants. I am starting to feel a sense of loss now that Gavin has reached the age of accountability. I hope I have taught him well. The good news is that he’s not being “cut off” in any way. This is just another step toward maturity. Heath and I have the philosophy that you raise adults not children. I think we’re doing ok.