Mom Explains How She Handles Questions When People Find Out Her Toddler 'Identifies' As A Grandpa

Her whole-hearted acceptance of her toddler's quirks is a valuable lesson in loving someone in their entirety.

toddler dressed like grandpa @juliewise4 / TikTok

Parenting is an inherently challenging task, one that expands your heart and tests your patience. Raising a toddler can be especially difficult, yet it’s also one full of heartwarming and hilarious moments, as one mom captured on her TikTok account. Julie Wise has two children, a baby named Rose and a toddler named Jay. Yet, as she shared on TikTok, Jay doesn’t feel like a kid — he feels like a grandpa. In one TikTok, titled “PawPaw activities,” Wise filmed Jay getting ready to go out.


“You ready?” She asked patiently while Jay went to find his wig. As they stood by the door, Jay puffed on a pipe, leading his mom to ask if he knew what a pipe was for. 



“Smoking,” he answered nonchalantly. “Smoking what?” Wise asked. “Fire,” he replied before opening the front door with his blow-up cane.


The next shot featured a close-up of Jay, wearing oversize glasses and blowing bubbles out of his pipe. Wise captured Jay eating lunch while watching his baby sister sleep on the video monitor, exclaiming, “She’s so cute.”

The love that Jay has for his family is clearly mirrored back to him. That love is tangible, shown in the ways his parents encourage him to be his full self, making space for his vivid imagination and his gentle, loving spirit. Wise recently shared another TikTok in response to a follower asking, “Do you have to explain to people in public that he identifies as a grandpa?” 

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The mom’s support for her toddler’s grandpa-identity shows the importance of accepting kids for who they are, without trying to change them.


Holding Rose on her lap while sitting by the pool, Wise told the story of the first time she brought her baby to the pediatrician, accompanied by Jay.



“The pediatrician obviously asked Jay, ‘What’s it like being a big brother?’ And I looked at him, like, don’t. Don’t say [it], not here, not here. And of course, he said, ‘I’m actually a grandpa.’ And the doctor looked at me and was like, ‘A grandpa.’ I was like, ‘Yes, he wants to be her grandpa. We call him Grandpa.’”

Even though Wise seemed somewhat embarrassed by that particular interaction, she still let Jay express his true, unbridled self. Jay popped up from the pool while Wise recorded, stating, “I’m called PawPaw.”


“Yes,” Wise answered. “Well, it was before you got your wig, so you weren’t PawPaw yet. You were just Grandpa Jay.”

“And now I got my wig, so now I’m PawPaw,” Jay reiterated. “So, my wig is over there?”

“Yeah,” Wise replied. “We don’t bring the wig out in public, though. We do have boundaries here.”

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In a separate TikTok, overlaid with the text, “Dreams came true today,” Wise shared the wig’s origin story.

She recorded Jay as he cleaned Rose’s bottles, dressed in a cowboy hat, sunglasses and cowboy boots, capturing his expression of pure joy when she told him that she got him a white wig, just like he’d asked for. 




Wise filmed Jay, resplendent in his brand-new wig, his self-confidence, utter happiness, and sense of fulfillment shining bright. 

Only time will tell whether Jay carries his elderly identity into adolescence and adulthood. It’s possible that PawPaw is an iteration of Jay that will shift as he grows older, making way for other yet-to-be-discovered parts of his luminous humanity.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.