Every now and then I catch myself looking at Junior, now 2 months shy of his third birthday, and wonder how (and when) he got so big. I had to leave town for several days last week and when I got home it’s like I was looking at someone else’s child. Did he get taller between Thursday morning and Sunday night? It’s made me really start paying attention to the little things…
His vocabulary. He’s my first child so I don’t have much to compare it to, but some of the things that come out of his mouth are mind boggling. Not just because they’re so crisp and clear, but because they’re so grown up. A recent example, stated with the clarity of a polished orator: “Mommy can you stop? You’re annoying me.”
The water fountain. He can reach it at daycare. For months I’ve had to give him a little boost to reach the stream of water. Now he puts his sweet little face right in there and slurps away. I don’t know how it happened.
His sales pitch. He’s a better negotiator than I am.
Junior: “Mommy can I have some M&Ms?”
Me: “No buddy, not until after dinner.”
Junior, turning to his father: “Daddy, you’re the best. Can I have some M&Ms please?”
Mimicking Mommy. It’s no secret that I love having Junior work with me in the kitchen. I’ve found that he translates the things I do in the kitchen to the “cooking” he does in his own little places. For instance, at least 3 times a week he makes me soup or macaroni in the bathtub. And almost always he samples his bubble-laden recipe and informs me that it “needs a little more salt.” So he takes a pinch of salt from his imaginary bowl and sprinkles it into his recipe. Then he’ll taste it again and say, “It needs some pepper Mommy,” and crank his imaginary pepper grinder like I do in the kitchen. He is so serious about it, and is overjoyed when I taste the final product and tell him how DELICIOUS it is, and seasoned just perfectly… It is absolutely precious.
Independence. Now that we converted his crib into a toddler bed he thinks he can set his own agenda when it comes to going to bed and staying in bed… My once late sleeper has now decided that chirping birds are his sign to get up and start the day. Mommy wholeheartedly disagrees. But it’s a tricky situation because he’s potty training and I want him to feel like he has access to the bathroom, or to me, should he need to go. Quite a conundrum… I do find it comical that he thinks he can get up and stroll around the house at night after he’s gone to bed. Not too long ago I was loading the dishwasher at around 9 PM, and I looked up to hear him say, “Hi Mommy. I’m going to play in my fort now,” as he waltzed into the family room. Do what?
Affection. With all of the ups and downs, milestones and challenges, the amount of affection we get is the best part. I’m not an overly affectionate person by nature; my closest friends and family know how much I value my 3 feet of personal space… But the big bear hugs I get from Junior are out of this world. He tells me he misses me when I’m gone. And he still wants me to hold his hand as we go down the steps. I know that won’t last forever so I’m happy to oblige as long as I can.