Saturday, February 07, 2009

River News: Month Twenty-Two

Dear River,

Evey time we go to a playgroup these days and run into someone we haven't seen in a couple weeks they look at you and can't help but express how much you look like a "Little Boy!" I see you every single day and I still can't get over it.

Much of it is the way you look - baby fat gone, you have long, lean, strong limbs. But it's just as much about what you can do these days. You walk with such confidence and are close to tackling stairs on your own. You can climb the ladder of your bunk bed (you always want someone near to "push butt," but all you need is the confidence a hand at the ready gives you). You can twist the cap off my contact case, you can pull your saggy pants up, and you can say, "Orange trash truck."

You amaze us every day with your growing independence. One of my favorite developing skills is definitely your language. You repeat about half of the words we say, following just about every sentence with some attempt to learn a new word. It goes like this:

"Let's take the recycling out."

"Thom, have you seen my cell phone?"
"Cell pone"

"Here's your vitamins, River."

"Do you want macaroni or peanut butter and jelly?"

You're refining the words you already know as well. Working on saying "adder" instead of "jzah jzah" for ladder, using "bana" instead of "lurlurlurlur" for banana (don't ask me how lurlurlurlur ever meant banana - it just did. It also means balloon). Two of my favorites are using "mommy" and "daddy" instead of "mama" and "dada". I love hearing that sweet little "ee" at the end of the word.

This month you've learned a bunch of new colors, numbers, and letters (your world is no longer only shaded in blue, 2, and D!). Green, orange, red, purple, brown, white, black are all part of your vocabulary. And every time you take the stairs you count them as you go (1, 2, 3...1, 2, 3). You have a firm grasp of opposites and like to explore under and over the blanket, jumping up and laying down, hot and cold, happy and sad.

We started a music class this month. I overheard one of the mother's in the class express disappointment that the music wasn't hipper ("you know, throw in some salsa or rock n roll"). It was a valid, and hilarious, point. But yes, what we get when you, daddy and me head downtown once a week is silly, tinny children's music to dance and move to. Perhaps it was the music that turned you off, or just being expected to do the same thing everyone else was doing, but the first couple weeks were a struggle. You fought us walking into the room, and then asked repeatedly to "go. go." On the third week, however, a transformation occurred and you lit up when the first song was sung, and you spent most of the class running in circles, showing your enthusiasm for the whole experience. Quite a welcome change.

This week you surprised both of your parents by climbing unassisted into your crib. At first you were tentative and careful, and now you just hop in every time I have my back turned. The obviously distressing deduction is that if you can climb in, soon you'll figure out how to climb out. And if we knew you would spend the time out of your crib entertaining yourself by reading books (and not, as we fear, decorating the walls with permanent markers) we wouldn't be quite so panicked by the prospect. I guess it's just a part of getting more independent, and if it means you move to your big boy bed earlier than I'm ready for, so be it.

As you develop more independence, I feel a little pang for those long-gone baby days. Every now and then, when you're sick, or woken from your nap before you're done, I'll go in your room and sit and rock you back to sleep. Watching my sleeping boy is such a luxury: feeling your hair tickle my chin, feeling you in my arms, relaxed and at peace. Every day you get older, and every day those moments start to slip through my fingers. I recently heard someone express it so well: the knowledge that the day is coming when it will no longer be acceptable for me to hug you so tight or to feel your sleeping body next to mine brings such a pain to my heart, I almost can't bear it.

I don't know how to balance it all - cherishing the baby you were, relishing who you are in exactly this moment, and looking forward to the man you will become. Seeing your whole life before me is overwhelming: when will I stop tying your shoes, wiping your nose, carrying you through the grocery store? School will come, and girls, driving, and sports. You'll get in trouble, you'll do amazing things, you'll graduate, and I will always be here for you. But the day will come when it's no longer my primary job, when you don't need me every day, when you need to be on your own. How do I even imagine that day? How is it possible to live with that knowledge and not feel my heart breaking?

I'm trying to get through it and realize that I still get a lot more time being Mommy with a capital M. There are a million days left for playdoh, splashing in the bathtub, silly games with your critters, playtime with Finn, chasing you around the house, and hugging you until your stuffing falls out.

I love you my little little man,


Anonymous said...

It's so wonderful to be able to follow along as River grows and learns. Your journals are such a treasure.

Keely said...

"lurlurlurlur" - I giggled out loud at that!

I'm struggling with this, too, though X is a little younger. It just seems like every single day he does more grown up things and I want to cry - with happiness AND sadness - every time!