Oh jeez, where do I even begin?
Thomas is 17 months old, which means we’ve survived another month. Another month of doing nothing but putting things away and taking Thomas off the table. And while we’re taking him off the table? He’s emptying our drawer of cloth napkins. And while I’m franticly throwing the (unfolded) napkins back into the drawer, he’s in the playroom, on top of the table, throwing pieces of a puzzle down an air vent.
I have a friend whose son, when he was around Thomas’s age, climbed out of his crib in the middle of the night, went into her room, grabbed her phone off her nightstand, and called 9-1-1. She woke up to the sound of a dispatcher saying, “Hello? Hello? Is there an emergency?”
I think at that point I would have said, “Yes. Please send someone immediately.”
My point is, every day I remind myself that if she survived that then I can survive Thomas’s on-top-of-the-table habit.
Thomas insists on using a fork these days, not so much eating with a fork but mostly flinging food around the kitchen with a fork and whining because he’s so hungry.
He’s also saying more words, but he almost seems to cycle through words. Last month he said “more” all the time. Now he almost never says that, but he says “wa-wa” for water, and “EEE” for eat. You might notice that his vocabulary revolves around food. That’s because if raising two children has taught me anything, it’s that learning words like “cheese” cuts down on whining at least 30 percent.
Thomas’s favorite word is football, and when Tom turns on football, Thomas starts stomping around the room, arms up and belly-first, shouting FOO-BAH! It is delightful and we all cheer him on, which is exactly what I imagine his fraternity brothers will do when he’s screaming FOO-BAH! to get everyone excited for a night game.
Thomas loves to repeat us, and will often repeat something and then never say it again. We like getting him to say the kids’ names (DAY!DAY! and MaMa!) or HOKIE! and when we sing to songs in the car, Thomas always tries to scream along. Today he was squawking in his chair and I said, “Are you all done? Say ALL DONE!” He stopped bleating for a moment and said “AH DA!” To which I responded by saying “YAY!” and raising my hands in celebration. He did the same thing. And, wow, is that better than the bleating he had been doing.
Thomas loves balls, playing with cars, and climbing. He always tries to run into his siblings’ preschool classrooms, and when he sits in those cars on grocery carts, he believes he is driving. When we’re outside, he’s fascinated by airplanes and helicopters (or birds if they catch his eye), and points and screeches at them until they’re out of sight.
Ah, and what else? Thomas now has two blonde curls just above his ears, and as I type this his bottom two molars are slowly and miserably erupting through his gums. That means we just have eight teeth to go. The only thing standing between me and normalcy is eight teeth.
Oh and also, small postscript, Thomas is sleeping through the night. A big deal, I know, but don’t say anything, don’t tell anyone. I wrote about Mary Virginia sleeping through the night once and it took six agonizing months to recover from the fall-out from that, and sometimes I read what I wrote about that time and my blood pressure can’t handle reliving that stress.. This is a delicate balance that cannot be disturbed. I’m not sure the Universe realizes he’s sleeping through the night and once it does? Well, I’m ruined.
Thomas loves to be outside, so much that Tom and I have to sneak outside if we need to just grab something and come right back in, if we can’t committing to a full two-hour outside experience. This morning David realized he forgot a toy outside, and announced that he was going to get it, then ran out before I could even respond. And even though he ran out and came back in, Thomas stood at the door crying for the next 10 minutes. So at 8 a.m., I was outside in my slippers watching Thomas toddle around happily in the yard while my coffee got cold inside. It’s fine. This is fine.
Unlike when we’re inside and he’s clinging to my leg, Thomas is completely independent outside, and would actually prefer to be raised by a pack of wolves, thankyouverymuch. He runs away from me without looking back, sneaks out of our yard, and escapes from playgrounds. More than twice this month a stranger has seen him wandering off and approached me, pointing as his little head was about to disappear around a corner and asked, “Um, is that your baby?”
And I say, “I see him, I promise I’m watching. And, yes, he’s my baby. How could you tell, because of the bags under my eyes?”
One morning this month you and I were at the park together while David and Mary Virginia were at school. It was a beautiful morning, and the playground was full of kids.
An elderly woman approached us and spoke to you. It was a simple interaction and you were your normal, delightful self, smiling and babbling, and when she walked away you even smiled and waved. With your tuft of blonde hair, your round belly, your big smile; you looked like sunshine. As she left, her husband lingered to thank us. His wife has Alzheimer’s, he explained, and she loves babies. A few times a week he takes her to the park to see babies because it makes her happy.
It was a beautiful morning, and all at once that entire park was full of that man’s love for his wife. And there we were, you and me. I couldn’t help but pick you up and hold you, and my eyes welled up because this phase is so hard but also so short. I cannot think of a more poignant moment, or a greater reminder that we reflect God’s goodness to each other.