The defiant dos. The never-ending Ni .
The terrible twos.
Every parent deals with the tiresome tantrums of a two-year-old terror at some point or another and while I knew there would come a time when my easygoing life-loving giggle monster would reveal –let’s say- his darker side, I can honestly confess to you that I didn’t see it coming. I blinked and my little one goes from taking his first steps to running across the playground. I turned around twice and the baby that could barely utter mama and daddy is singing his ABC’s.
As I was eating lunch with some of my favorite co-working-moms a few days ago, the conversation quickly fell to our sweet babes—that acted like wild gorillas on last night’s grocery trip or compelled you to sing through your meal at Chili’s in order to have a cold, yet scream-free dinner or those angels you bribed to sit through a musical show with Can-Can girls at a theme-park by telling them if they look hard enough they might see the girls’ underwear.
We gave testimony on potty training woes and disciplinary measures then vented about tantrums and the challenges of sticking to you “Mommy is a Hard Ass” guns after a “Mack-Truck” workday. (if you don’t know what a Mack-Truck workday is, let me assure you-- you haven’t had one…yet.)
But on the way home today, I started thinking about everything that James is doing and saying and singing and showing us right now. And my itch to revisit this poor neglected blog returned. Not because I want to share all the trying things James is exploring right now, but because I wanted to write down some of my favorite things about who James is right now…
His natural instinct to explore – incessantly. The kid is a sponge. He absorbs so much – things that I don’t even notice – he takes it in, processes it and makes it his own. In the sky—always looking for the moon, outside hunting for frogs and bugs, in the car, in the rain, in my closet. Anywhere and everywhere he’s observing the world around him. I love watching him try to figure out how things work and what they can do.
His energy – okay, I admit, there are days when I don’t love this one so much, but I’m still amazed by how much of it the kid has. Even on days where I would love nothing more than to have him cuddle up with me on the couch to read a book or just sit still for 5 freaking minutes, my heart can’t help but smile as he wheels by me at lightning speed on his tri-cycle.
His songs – He sings the most beautiful (and unique) version of Baa Baa Black Sheep.
His Dancing – The boy’s got moves. Every once in a while I glance back at him in the rear-view mirror and see his head bobbing and hand waving. His itch for music with a good beat existed months before he was born and his love for it seems to grow more and more every day.
The way he sticks his tongue out when he’s really concentrating on something – He doesn’t notice it yet, but his tongue will poke out on the left side of his mouth just enough to notice if you’re looking for it. This only happens when he’s thinking really hard – like figuring out the intricate details of a toy, stacking a tower of blocks as tall as he is, or simply climbing a chair. This time he was concentrating on the ever-so-important birthday wish!
His Stare – James has the ability to say it all with just one look. He can stick his bottom lip out better than any child I know and will let you know he didn’t approve of what you just did or said by cutting his eyes just so. Then in the next moment he shoots you a look that’ll make your heart melt.
His love for Love -- About 6 months ago James would randomly yell out some undecipherable words from the back seat of the car on the way home from town. I knew they were significant because he would repeat them for a minute or so. (At least until we crossed the railroad tracks and he was distracted by the possibility that a Choo-Choo might be coming.) He did this for weeks and weeks – both of us getting frustrated with our inability to understand each other.
Me: “Sorry?? There is nothing that you have done wrong.”
James: “No Mommy…stwoooee. O-Vu stwooee.”
He said it so thoughtfully, too, like he had reflected on his decision to make this statement for quite a while. This scenario played out week after week and always at the same point on the way home. It wasn’t until about mid-June that I figured out what he was saying .
Me: “LOVE YOU STORE!”
James’ eyes opened wide and he started bouncing in his seat. Turning his neck almost a full 180 degrees James pointed to the grocery store where we shop almost daily.
James (squealing at this point) “Love mommy! Love you store!”
So, that started a chain of love. Once I figured out what in God’s name James was trying to tell me, James began to “love” everything. “Love you Max” “Love you Daddy’s new car” “Love you tractor” “Love you moon” “Love you tree” “Love you park” “Love you Mommy-Daddy”
The boy loves to love…even the things I “forget” to love most days.
Dammit—now I’m tearing up. I hope James doesn’t sense the weakness…