This month was a big month for David. It was maybe, in a toddler’s economy, the biggest month. This month, David met Elmo.
I’m not sure how or when he saw Elmo for the first time, all I know is that suddenly David started asking for Elmo. This might also be a good time to reiterate that David still doesn’t really say mama or mommy.
I’d been trying to delay the Elmo thing for a while, mostly because there are less-annoying characters out there (Cookie Monster? Big Bird? We’ll even take Oscar!) but there is something about Elmo that toddlers cannot get enough of. The other night, around 4 a.m. David woke up and started crying for Elmo to come get him. I wanted to yell from my bed, “You think Elmo’s so great? Where’s Elmo now, David!?”
This is Grover. We tolerate Grover while we wait for Elmo.
There are some upsides to all this Sesame Street. First, I’m getting a chance to review my letters and phonics. Second, I’m pretty sure Elmo has taught David a few words. One of those words is baby. Well-played, Elmo. Right when we’re preparing to welcome a new baby, Elmo teaches David to say baby. Elmo will have me in check mate if he can convince David to say mama. Actually, at this point I might settle for him calling me “Elmo.” Now that I think about it, that probably means Elmo has already won.
David is learning at lightning speed, but the thing that shocks us most is when he picks up on things just through observation. For example, when he sneezes, we say bless you. So now when we sneeze, he says “shesh oo”. Or, we pray every night before dinner, and one day I decided to tell David to pray with us. With no prompting from me, David folded his hands, grinned while we prayed, and at the end he shouted AMEN! The very first time.
Watching him pick up on this stuff is fun, but also confusing because he’s ignored plenty of things I’ve tried to teach him. Things like patience, obedience, or that Mommy likes her back rubbed then scratched, not the other way around.
I have always had two dreams for my child. The first is that he will love to read. Tom and I both love reading, and we can’t wait to share our favorite books with our kids. Except for a brief stint when he was 14 months old, David has never really been interested in books. That all changed this month; he suddenly loves reading. He spends all this time pointing at things and telling me what they are, or asking me to name things.
The other dream is that one of my children will win the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes and buy me a new car. David, they say you don’t have to buy the magazines to win but I’m not so sure.
David has been trying some new sleep tricks with us. He switched his wake up time to 6 a.m. with no notice. We got used to it, then Daylight Saving Time hit and switched back to 7. Then he started doing this fun thing where he wakes up at 2 a.m. and starts chatting, Ball! Butterfly! Meow! Football! Daddy! Elmo! Each time he’s done it, it’s lasted about an hour. At some point during that hour we go into his room to see if he maybe needs a diaper change, or something has happened. But he’s just laying there, excited to see us. When your child wakes up in the middle of the night there’s usually some problem that you can fix. You can nurse them or give them Tylenol or change their diaper. But walking into your child’s room at 3 a.m. to find nothing wrong? Well, that’s every parent’s worst nightmare.
This new routine makes me think David has realized the power he has over us by interrupting our sleep. And I think Elmo told him.
Recently I noticed that, these days, you don’t ask to be held as much. Sure, I still hold you a lot, but it’s usually because you need a little encouragement to get out of that puddle, or because (turns out) sweet bald toddlers aren’t allowed to sit in the middle of the parking lot at Kroger.
You used to beg to be held. You’d dance at my feet, then start crying and pulling my pants down until I lifted you up. This new development couldn’t have come at a better time. First, you weigh a ton, but I especially appreciate it because I’m already carrying around enough extra weight.
I like to think your new independence is just one more way you’re maturing. The same goes with how, more and more, you’re playing on your own; lining up your cars just so, and making towers with your blocks.
These days we’re starting to prepare for big changes in our house. We’re welcoming a new baby, and I know it’s going to change, um, everything, but you have no idea. With all those changes coming, I catch myself noticing you more these days. My whole day is oriented around you, responding to your needs, and taking it slow when you want to. I’m at your beck and call 24 hours a day. If I you have to wait five minutes for water because I forgot it, I feel terrible.
That’s all about to change, and I think that’ll be good for you. In fact, I think it’ll be good for me, too, but it also makes me sad. This might be because I’m hormonal, but I catch myself thinking, “Well, we won’t be able to do this anymore,” and I get nostalgic. Sometimes a lump rises in my throat.
But you? Time and time again you’ve proven to me that you’re ready for milestones before I am. That alone lets me know that, even though you’re still mama’s baby boy, you’re going to be an amazing big brother.