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Katy England Katy England
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When is a baby not a baby?

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I was interviewing some people for a story when an older acquaintance popped her head in and we chit-chatted for a bit. She knew I had triplets, and I referred to them as babies and she said to me, 'But they aren't babies anymore, they're children.'

I was taken aback for a moment, because that was something that was true and at the same time not even close to the truth. And, let's be clear, I'm not talking about some whimsical notion that my kids will always be my babies. I mean, they're still clearly babies. They cry, they poop in their pants, there's a 50-50 chance that they'll drink their milk out of a bottle. Babies do all of those things.

But then they also do things that babies don't do. They can pick up the toy I ask for, stack blocks, say 'cracker' and walk complete circuits around the house. Not to mention sleep through the night that's a big one.

I am periodically reading 'The Girlfriends Guide to Toddlers,' which is a fairly funny book about what you'd think raising toddlers. The author refers to toddlers as 'changelings' and describes them incredibly accurately as not quite human and not quite baby, but with the attributes of both.

I think of them as werebabies: part baby, part monster but cute.

And the change from human to baby and back again can be violent. We can be having a meal full of pleasantly signed 'mores' and 'milks,' when suddenly enough becomes enough and we're having a pre-nap meltdown because someone finished their milk too quickly or didn't get that cracker quite as fast as they deemed appropriate. It's worthy of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The giggles, doe-eyes and stories turn into flailing and screaming (occasionally with hair-pulling and biting, if you're lucky).

Morning routines have gotten easier, and will continue to get easier (hopefully) as the kids develop more ways of communicating what they want. I've learned that a jutting chin, mixed with violently turning away from sweet potatoes, is how one of the girls has decided to tell me they are no longer an option.

I asked a friend of mine when she considered her son no longer a baby (he's 5 now and firmly in the 'kid' camp). She said probably around the age of 3 or so. They can communicate decently and have largely transitioned to using a potty as opposed to their own pants (something that sets us apart from those chimps in diapers). We're not there yet. Part of me can't wait for it, and part of me is sad that I've gotten to this point so quickly (mothers are insane, in case you didn't notice).

In many ways, the kids are not babies anymore. And sure, they will always be my babies. But I think I legitimately have at least another year and a half of this weird in-between stage of werebaby before I can safely say I have children.

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