I can’t believe that my son will be two years old in less than a month. He’s not a baby anymore, even though I still call him baby sometimes. He’s a toddler. A boy. A little person who no longer fits nicely on my chest and shoulder.
Now when I pick him up to soothe him to sleep on the nights he has a hard time, which has been happening a lot more often lately, his cheek meets mine and his long legs dangle, feet bumping into my thighs when I sway him back and forth.
“Go away, Mommy,” is a sentence I’ve been hearing lately. It’s not as fun as “I like Bat Guy” (every day regardless of exposure to Batman-related items), “I like it. I want to lick it” (in reference to cookie batter last weekend), and “Mommy, I love you.” The last one is my favorite. “I want to lick it” runs a close second.
His general chattiness has turned to questions lately, “What’s this?” “That’s the Hostess Cupcakes building. They make treats.” “What’s this?” “That’s a Soundsuit. It’s art by Nick Cave. We took you to the exhibit when you were a little guy.” “What’s this?” “That’s a volcano. A volcano is…let’s see…how…umm…” “What’s this?” “That’s a volcano too.” “What’s this?” “That’s another volcano.”
He gets more creative every day. I picked him up from day care last week and this is what he was wearing.
His teacher said that after he finished with his drawing, he picked it up and held it behind his back like a cape, running around the classroom singing, “na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Bat Guy!” They taped it on his back for him and he wore it for the rest of the day.
He’s counting to nine. He usually says “seven” for “ten.” He sort of sings a Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and ABC mashup. This is what it sounds like when he’s tired and singing himself to sleep.
This weekend I watched him play at one of the nearby playgrounds. A little girl who was younger than him walked up to where he was playing and wormed her way in front of him so she could play with the telescope/binocular thingie that Nathaniel was playing with. He got upset, and Drew and I told him to share with the other kids. Even though, let’s face it, she was being kind of a jerk.
Nathaniel is really good about sharing, so he let her play. When she walked away, he turned to go back to the toy. She saw him going toward it, then lunged back over to play with it again. I, naturally, fast forwarded 13 years in my head and began venomously despising whomever the first person will be who crushes his sweet little heart. Consider yourself warned, person of the future. Nathaniel handled it a little better than my brain did. He waited patiently and said, “The baby play with it.”
My friend Sheri wrote a wonderful post about children growing up recently, and I can completely relate to what she said about parenting. “One of the more poignant things about parenting is the constant push/pull of time. Pushing it forward. Pulling it back. Rushing to the next phase. Holding on tight. I marvel at my ability to be joyful and mournful at the same time over any given moment.”
That’s exactly how I feel about my baby turning into a boy. One minute I’m so thankful that he’s finally able to talk and I’m laughing at his awesome dance moves, and the next minute I’m watching him lying in his bed and all I can think about is how much more space he takes up than the tiny dark-haired newborn that I brought home from the hospital and how quickly everything changes.
How about you guys? Do you remember what it was like to watch your baby turn into a child? How did you feel?