Yesterday was Drew’s 48th birthday, but maybe as exciting: it was Jackson’s half birthday and he is now 6-1/2. Parenting a 6-1/2-year-old is way different than parenting a 2-1/2-year-old, which might not come as a big surprise. There are little things about this age that I wasn’t expecting, not because they’re surprising but because, like a lot of parenting, they’re experiences you don’t think about until you have to or until they happen. Some recent experiences that highlight how grown-up 6-1/2 is these days:
* Jackson is super easy to travel with now. We flew to Missouri and back last week, and aside from a little anxiety about carsickness to and from the airport, which was alleviated with Dramamine, I didn’t have to worry about Jackson at all. He put his headphones on and rocked out to the travel playlists Drew created for him (with songs mostly from Annie, Moana, and The Wizard of Oz), with nary a complaint or demand about anything.
* It’s really, really, REALLY important to Jackson that he order for himself at a restaurant. Like, don’t even TRY to order for him or you will pay.
* Speaking of paying, Jackson wants to do a lot of it himself. He has a piggy bank where, for his whole life, he’s kept all the cash he gets in greeting cards, the money he collects from the tooth fairy, and his “allowance,” which is sporadic as it is 100% related to chores that he more often than not neglects. The other day he counted and he had quite a bit of money saved up, and so now he insists on using it to buy gifts for friends’ birthdays, gifts for family, and if he had his way (which he won’t): his very own phone.
* He’s determined to get a phone, you see, and he’s trying to convince us to let him have one by inventing apps. He figures he can make money to pay his phone bill by selling apps (since we explained that buying the phone is only part of the expense of having one that is usable), and if he is successful in creating and selling apps, then we have to let him have a phone because an app inventor really, really needs a phone, duh.
* He is at the age now that he is aware of social media — especially my presence on social media and, by extent, his own presence on social media. He has very strong opinions about whether and how he should be included in my social media, which changes almost weekly, and he wants very, very much to have his own social media accounts and a digital camera from which he can upload images and videos, etc.
Of course, he’s too young and that’s that, except it won’t be long before he isn’t too young, or before friends and kids at school have phones and social media accounts and all that, and so we’ve started thinking about what that means as parents a little — ok, a lot — sooner than I thought we would be thinking about this stuff. Anyone with slightly older kids, any advice for navigating these tricky topics?
If you’re a parent, what are some of the recent ways you’ve noticed your kids growing older?