After my daughter was born, I used to get weekly emails from Babycenter.com that would say things like, “Week 7: All Smiles,” or “Week 20: Starting to Sit Up.”
These emails always amazed me with their spot-on timing. Why, yes, I’d think, as I glanced through my inbox. She is all smiles. It was just fascinating to me that humans are so consistent, reaching developmental milestones all at about the same time. When my son was born, I signed up for emails for him too, and I still receive them. In fact, I got a new one just a few weeks ago, when he turned seven.
“The Lovable Sevens” it was titled, with a little article about what to expect in terms of his development this year. True, he is lovable, but I couldn’t help feeling that Babycenter had missed the boat on a whole other aspect of my son’s development over the years – namely, his changing obsessions with various toys and characters.
I know for a fact that these obsessions are not specific to my son. In talking to other moms of boys, it seems to me that all (or at least most) of them tend to obsess over the same things at the same ages. Therefore, I feel compelled to fill in the gaps that Babycenter missed. If you’ve got a little boy, I’d like to offer my own advice regarding what you’ll encounter these next few years.
Your 2-Year-Old: Thomas & (His Many, Very Expensive) Friends
At this age, your little guy will love this horribly boring cartoon about trains with creepy faces on them. In your excitement that he’s really acting like a boy, you’ll spend obscene amounts of money on wooden train tracks and bridges and towers, not to mention Thomas and Percy and Gordon and all of Thomas’s other “friends” who retail for fifteen bucks a pop. And just when you’ve gone and invested in a damn train table that takes up your whole family room, your son will turn three and lose interest completely.
Your 3-Year-Old: ‘Allo Me Hardy! ‘Ave You Got Any Weapons?
At the tender age of three, your son will now obsess over pirates, and he’ll covet the pre-Lego, PlayMobil pirate sets that come with ships and palm trees and little treasure chests filled with gold, and also little tiny guns and knives. Because, you know, why not? He is three, after all. You can’t keep him sheltered from the real world forever. What you should know is that these tiny weapon accessories will quickly become his favorite things, and even though they will all look exactly the same to you, he will somehow keep an inventory of them in his little head and will know the difference between every single one. So when he loses one, he will scream for three days because THAT’S NOT THE GUN I’M TALKING ABOUT, MOMMA, IT’S THE OTHER LONG BLACK ONE.
Your 4-Year-Old: Yes, Haim Saban Is Trying To Ruin Your Life.
This is a long and painful phase. You will quickly discover that there are not just five Power Rangers, as you thought, but rather there are five Power Rangers on every different team of Power Rangers, and there are like, two dozen teams of Power Rangers, dating all the way back to 1995. And even though in 1995 you were still hooking up with random guys in bars and not sure that you even wanted to have children, your four year-old son will still somehow know about all of them. At this point, your son will have developed quite an advanced vocabulary but unfortunately, you won’t understand ninety percent of what he says because it will all be about RPM and Mystic Force and Ninja Storm and Operation Overdrive.
Quick Tip: When you buy him zords, in your spare time you might want to practice turning them into megazords, because your little guy won’t have developed the fine motor skills to do it himself yet, and he’ll throw a fit if you can’t follow the wordless and totally incomprehensible directions and inform him that he’ll have to wait until Daddy gets home.
Your 5-Year-Old: Dust Off The Old Star Wars DVDs, You Will.
Finally! Something you can relate to. At least, you can relate to the original three that you watched when you were a kid. But good luck trying to follow the storyline on those new ones. And just a heads-up: get used to your kid talking like Yoda and/or Jar Jar Binks for an entire year.
Your 6-Year-Old: And You Thought You Were Finished With Disney Ripping You Off.
Now that your son is in kindergarten, he’s probably quite adept at using the computer, which will come in handy when he discovers Club Penguin and the sixty dollar a year membership fee that is required to play anything more than the most basic levels. This might also be a good time to introduce the idea of child predators on the internet.
Your 7-Year-Old: WTF??? Kids Still Play With Pokemon?
Yes, that classic Japanese phenom that you vaguely remember hearing about in college is still alive and kicking. If you thought Power Rangers were bad, then the 649 different Pokemon characters will surely leave you wishing that the plastic guns left over from the PlayMobil pirate days were real so that you could shoot yourself in the head with one of them.
Quick Tip: Don’t even try to understand how the trading card game works. At seven, your child is now old enough to know that Mommy has more important things to do than play silly games with him. Congratulations!