I remember my mom telling me more than once that every stage of childhood seems like the best one. When a baby is brand new, you think he can’t be any cuter. Then he grows a bit more, and it’s perfect like that. He keeps growing, learning, developing, and the parent always thinks he’s at the best stage. At the time, I thought it was a rather ridiculous way of describing child-raising, but now I understand. Just when I think my kids can’t get any more awesome, they do! Although I miss having a tiny, swaddled newborn to snuggle, or a toddler who’s just learning to walk and keeps falling down, or a wobbly six-month-old trying to sit up straight, or a jabbering, yammering, incomprehensible eighteen-month-old struggling to form words, I absolutely love the stage we’re at right now.
A. turned three back in August and is the brightest little lightbulb I’ve ever met. (Of course I’m terribly biased!) He’s a clown, downright theatrical in his antics. His latest thing is dancing with full-out hip gyrations while mouthing lyrics into his dad’s flashlight. He talks non-stop, describing every aspect of his day and spicing it up with invented details whenever it sounds too dull. He’s a comedian and makes us laugh all the time. Take, for instance, one night when we were still badly jet-lagged from our trip. He woke up at 3 a.m. and yelled, “Daddy, it’s breakfast time! Please get me some breakfast.” His dad mumbled sleepily, “No, it’s the middle of the night. Go back to sleep.” There was a pause, then he tried again: “Come on, man! You can do it!” We burst out laughing despite ourselves.
The little one, L., is crawling all over the place. He has a gentle, calm, quiet personality that is also stubborn and persistent. He watches situations carefully and seems to store information in his mind for when it will come in useful. For instance, he never ‘learned’ to crawl; he just did it one day. Whereas I remember his big brother trying over and over again to go from all-fours to seated position, L. went from sitting to full-out crawling in the span of a single day. His actions are methodical. He doesn’t babble, but emits one-syllable sounds when he wants attention: “Bah! Aaa!” he’ll call, then silence. Sometimes I lose him in the house because he wanders off and wedges himself into tiny corners where he simply explores. Unfortunately, his favourite spot is between the toilet and the wall.
I had a ‘moment’ as I walked A. to nursery school this morning, holding his hand and sneaking peeks at his big, grown-up face. His bright red jacket and pirate rubber boots make him look like a big boy and I can hardly believe this is my little surprise-baby who came into existence less than four years ago. His little brother sat in the stroller, silently watching the world pass by, kicking his feet with sheer joy. How can it be that I’m a mommy to these two fabulous little boys? Before I know it, these boys will be taller than me, grown up, educated, opinionated, excited about the world on their doorstep. There’s nothing like having kids to make you cling to every hour of the day and feel terrifying blessed.