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Best Baby Age

best baby age 16 months

I’m on a mission!

Today’s post will be baby centric, so if you’re not a parent or if you don’t like kids, perhaps you can read something serious like How to Start Making Passive Income instead. 🙂

Baby RB40 is about 17 months old now and I think from 16 months to 2 years old is the best age for kids.  He is a bit bigger now and doesn’t get sick much anymore. At this age, he is still very cute and can make most people smile with his antics. Anyway, I’m writing this as an encouragement for new parents who are struggling with their infants, like Buck who is trying to figure out which baby formula to buy.

The first year was very difficult for us with the lack of sleep, feeding challenges, back to back illness, and choices to make, but now we are starting to get the hang of it and are having fun most of the time. Here are some reasons why I think this is the best age for kids.

Spending – The only thing extra that we need to buy for baby RB40 now is organic whole milk. This costs $3 per half gallon from Safeway and he drinks about one gallon a week. Other than that he eats what we eat or at least tries them. If he doesn’t like a particular food, he can eat something else.  Tonight, he had steamed yams and noodles.  He didn’t like the squash. He’s small so he doesn’t eat that much and our food cost seems reasonable.

We have more than enough toys and clothes.  We just bought him a pair of shoes that are a little too large, but he will grow into them quickly. I’m sure our spending will go up much quicker when he is a bit older and wants to take some kind of lesson or other activity. Oh yeah, we still buy diapers too and that probably costs around $40/month. The expense will only increase from here on out and we’ll probably hit the $300k to raise a kid mark at some point.

Development – He is beginning to understand some simple words and phrases. He knows bed time, milk, put toys away, and more. You can just see the wheels turning in his head as he examines something new, and he has such an intent look in his eyes when he is putting together some Mega Bloks
.  It’s pretty amazing to see him getting smarter day by day. He is way smarter than the cats now, hahaha.

Mobility – He is walking very well now and every day, we visit one of the nearby parks. We have several to choose from in our area. The weather is great and it’s a lot more fun to go outside than play inside all day. As you know, it drizzles pretty much all Winter and Spring here in the Pacific Northwest and I didn’t want to get him to get wet much when he was younger. He should be able to go out more next winter because he’ll be a bit hardier.

found a nickle

This coin is going straight into his piggy bank.

Look what he found when we went to the park earlier this week. I guess it pays to be low to the ground. I didn’t even see that beat up nickel. Of course he picks up all kind of other trash like cigarette butts, spent fireworks, popsicle sticks, and the usual sticks and rocks. I probably need to bring a trash bag with us when we go out since we are collecting all kind of junk. He is learning to be a good citizen early.

He is still very cute and makes people smile wherever he goes, especially when he waves bye-bye as a greeting.  He’s like the official Walmart greeter and waves to people who smiles at him.  We almost don’t want him to get bigger anymore.  In a few months, he will be a little boy and they are just not as cute. Oh yeah, and all the back talks are going to start soon too. I’m not looking forward to that.

Anyway, that’s a big reason why I want to become a stay at home dad soon. He is growing up so quick and I don’t want to miss it. If you are a parent, when do you think is the best age for a kid? Maybe 18 when they go off to college? 🙂

Have a great weekend!

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 40 comments… add one }
  • [email protected] July 13, 2012, 6:41 am

    I have a one year old and a three year old and I have to say that I have loved every stage! I do agree with you though that kids at this age are pretty inexpensive. For my one year old, all we really need to buy are milk and diapers. For my three year old, I rarely buy anything.

    I am a very frugal person but I have to say that I have not regretted a single cent that I have ever spent on my children. They have been worth every penny and more!!!!

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:42 am

      I regret that $5 Mrs. RB40 spent on a nerf basketball that he doesn’t play with, but that’s about the only thing. 🙂
      I guess I’ll love every stage too, but we’ll miss our baby. 🙁

  • Don July 13, 2012, 6:52 am

    Geez, time flies!

    You son looks so much older now… To me is still feels like he was just born a few months ago.

    Sounds like you are doing a great job with him 🙂

    On getting smarter, at 11, my son started showing me up… Often times he’ll say “Dad, that’s not right…”, then he’ll show me how he thinks it should go… Sadly, most of the time he is right. I can still beat him in a casual game of chess though (but probably not for long).

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:43 am

      Time really flies. That’s why I need to make a change soon before he is a teenager. 🙂 Hahaha.

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor July 13, 2012, 6:53 am

    Joe, it’s heartwarming and fun to read about your love for your son and for fatherhood. I know your son feels this too, and he’ll grow up to be an outstanding person in part because of it. Thanks for sharing.

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:43 am

      Thanks Kurt! We are only having one kid so we’ll do our best.

  • RichUncle EL July 13, 2012, 6:53 am

    I am a parent and I agree with you, this is a great age. It gets a little easier as soon as the little rugrats get potty trained. But yes everyday my little ones make me laugh with all their antics.

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:44 am

      It will be great to not have diapers anymore. Someday… 🙂

  • SavvyFinancialLatina July 13, 2012, 6:54 am

    So cute!!!!

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:46 am

      Just like his dad! hahaha. 🙂

  • Well Heeled Blog July 13, 2012, 6:58 am

    Awww. 🙂 Every age has got its rewards and challenges, right? The proportions do change though, hehe. I always thought the “prize” you get as a parent is when your kid grows up into a person that you like and who likes spending time with you, i.e. you become friends with your adult child. Sounds like you are well on your way to that.

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:47 am

      It takes a long time for a kid to really appreciate his/her parent. I don’t think I really appreciate my dad until I was around 30.
      Hopefully he’ll be more grateful. 🙂

  • Little House July 13, 2012, 7:19 am

    I don’t have kids (yet), but I just spent a few days with my cousins’ toddlers (they are a few months older than Baby RB40) and they are adorable at this age. They are curious and cute and smiley and haven’t reached the “terrible two’s” quite yet. Enjoy the next few months!

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:49 am

      I think terrible 2s is a myth. At least that’s what I hope. 🙂

  • krantcents July 13, 2012, 7:20 am

    There are other great times in your child’s life too right up to the teenage years. If you do most of the right things beforehand, even the teenage years are not bad. Enjoy it while you can

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:49 am

      Haha, I love it. Right to to the teenage years. I’ll enjoy our time together as much as I can before he grows up.

  • Money Beagle July 13, 2012, 8:27 am

    Our baby girl is 13 months old this Sunday and the last couple of months have been getting better and better. Like yours, she struggled a lot with eating and had other issues that made her not the happiest baby. Now that she’s eating table food and has started walking (and if you look at my latest post, you’ll see that she has a new obsession: shoes), she is so much happier and you can really see her personality come through. You’re also right, at a certain point, they can’t ‘get away’ with things. Our 3-year old is living proof as now, when he does something disturbing in public, you know people are thinking that he’s too old to be acting that way.

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:51 am

      He is eating very well now and he actually loves spicy food (a little spicy.) It is so much more fun to spend time with him now.
      Even 2 years old aren’t as cute anymore. I’m going to miss all the interactions he has with the university students. 🙂

  • [email protected]&More July 13, 2012, 9:11 am

    Glad you are enjoying your time with the baby. I am definitely a ways away from having kids so I will let you take care of it for now.

  • Steve July 13, 2012, 9:34 am

    I don’t think you’ve gathered enough data to make this statement. Mine is 25 months old so I can’t say either way. But another father I know told me that he constantly thinks to himself “It was cool before, but wow, this age is awesome!”

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:01 pm

      I think you are right, but I’m pretty sure he won’t be as cute when he gets a bit older. We’ll see how it goes.

  • Marissa @ Thirtysixmonths July 13, 2012, 12:50 pm

    My godson just turned 7 this month and I have no idea where the time went. This is yesterday that we had to follow him around to make sure he didn’t hit his head on anything sharp around my house.

    BabyRB40 is adorable.

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:02 pm

      7 years sure flies by huh. That’s why we have to enjoy our time in the present and don’t put off anything.

  • Michelle July 13, 2012, 3:53 pm

    Oh, he melts my heart! My boys are still cute, but they’re way stinkier and less cuddly. Oh, and my 11 y/o talks about girls. 🙁 So not ready for that.

    Cute post. I’m glad your baby is smarter than your cats now…haha. My 12-month-old wipes up spills…that don’t exist. It’s the cutest thing ever. If you hand her a paper towel, she will wipe the floor. I guess she’s seen mommy do that a few times? Enjoy your weekend!

    • retirebyforty July 13, 2012, 8:03 pm

      Haha, I think I’ll enjoy talking to the little dude about girls. 🙂
      He helps put away toys now and that is really useful.

      • Steve July 13, 2012, 11:07 pm

        My totally scientific survey of one subject says that kids at that age LOOOOVE to be “helpful”. Or maybe they just like imitating?

        My daughter also has a boyfriend twice her age, though we don’t call him that to his face (nor his parents’).

        • retirebyforty July 15, 2012, 9:31 pm

          Recently, he is beginning to respond to more positive reinforcement. When he put toys away, we tell him good job and he gives himself a clap. I guess he figured out that clapping is good and he likes it. 🙂

  • Squeezer July 13, 2012, 4:13 pm

    I love picking beat up money from parking lots. I’m pretty good at spotting run over pennies that are heavily scratched.

  • Manette @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance July 14, 2012, 4:30 am

    Time flies so fast indeed. I congratulate you for choosing to be a stay-at-home dad to witness every milestone of your son. I know a lot of parents would choose to stay at home and take care of their children if they are given the option to.

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2012, 9:32 pm

      Thanks! Stay tune because it is going to happen soon. 🙂

  • I think my children’s best time was when they turned three. They started showing to be independent and doing things by themselves, such as dressing up themselves, eating alone, and cleaning up their toys. It was also during that time that they started to read and write. And of course, draw — a talent I would say they got from their dad.

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2012, 9:33 pm

      That’s good to know. We’ll still miss out cute baby. 🙁

  • Squirrelers July 14, 2012, 7:48 am

    I think that age is a lot of fun. Really, for me so far it’s all been good. The ages of say, 2 to 4 are a lot of fun because they’re SO innocent and full of fun all the time. At least I say that in regards to my kids, one of which is still young.

    I remember my daughter. when maybe 3 or 4, seeing me walk in and yelling “Daddy!!!!!!” with such happiness. Well, she’s 9 now and while that doesn’t quite happen, it does become cool in other ways to see your kids mature and develop into good young people. So while the pure innocence of the 2 year old age is precious, there are other stages that are rewarding an fun for parents that you can look forward to. I say that while not having hit the teenage years yet though 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2012, 9:34 pm

      I hear that from other dads too. My friends said kids are a lot more happy to see them when they are a bit older. I hope he’s like that for his working mom. Good luck with the teenage years. 🙂

  • Roshawn @ Watson Inc July 14, 2012, 9:01 pm

    It sounds like you had an “interesting” first year. Everyone says it takes so much out of you, but it is definitely worth it. I’m glad things have “settled” a bit. Now you can just enjoy Baby RB40. That’s awesome. Pretty soon, he won’t be a “baby” at all 🙂

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2012, 9:38 pm

      It’s so much better now and I’m trying to enjoy as much baby time as much as possible. He is growing so quickly.

  • Kim July 15, 2012, 2:02 pm

    For us, from about 18mos on has been great. When they can start to have conversations, it is much easier, although I always forget that you can’t reason with a 5 year old! We are starting to do some of the things we haven’t for a while, like hiking and going to concerts. It’s fun to see your child experience things you enjoy for the first time.

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2012, 9:39 pm

      We are starting to go to free concerts and festivals in town, but we only stay for 20-30 minutes. He get bored and tend to wander off. 🙂

  • Julie @ Freedom 48 July 15, 2012, 2:39 pm

    We have yet to have children – but I must admit, your post is refreshing! I keep hearing how expensive kids are to raise, and how you’ll spend a quarter million dollars raising them. I’ve read articles saying that we spend $10k each year raising a child… but I think that takes into account having to buy a “bigger home” and a “bigger vehicle”. Both our home and our vehicle are able to accommodate a child… so I think our extra expenses will (like you) be minimal.

    • retirebyforty July 15, 2012, 9:43 pm

      Don’t forget daycare. That was the big cost for us, but now that he is out of daycare, we won’t be spending much.
      Are you planning to have a child at some point? Kids are a lot of work, but they are also so much fun.

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