Where I try to take a snapshot of my children
Several years ago, we were having dinner with some friends — my kids were babies, but our friends had one child who was a baby, and one who was firmly beyond “babyhood.” At the time, CJ had his finger wrapped around my little finger1 and I mentioned how much I enjoyed that little “baby reaction.”
The conversation turned to when the “no longer a baby” stopped doing it . . . and neither parent could answer. At the time, I was shocked – I mean, it’s something I so enjoyed, surely I’d notice when the kid stopped. But the thing about kids is that they, seldom, announce “I am going to start doing this,” or “I am going to stop doing that.” One day, they have a cute little behavior that identifies them as “a kid,” and the next? They’re asking for the car keys.
I was thinking about this, last night, when I mentioned that I went to the grocery store to buy milk, and Duffy called out “MULK”, a common refrain from the very early days of either kid speaking . . . when they’d wake, early in the morning, between the land of dream and wakefulness, they’d cry for a bottle of milk. They no longer do that . . . heck, most mornings, they beg us to leave them alone in the hopes that we might let them sleep-in. I can’t even begin to tell you when they stopped crying for their morning “mulk”.
So, here are the cute little things that define just where my kids happen to be:
- Last weekend, Leila, for the first time, said “o-kay” and not “o-tay.” Though she will still say that she is “toad” when the temperature is low. However, if you answer that “yes, it’s toad outside,” instead of saying “yes, it’s cold outside,” she’ll correct you: “silly daddy, it’s TOAD, not TOAD”.
- Anything that has happened in the past, be it 5 minutes ago or several decades, happened “last week.”
- When CJ gets frustrated, or, really, whenever he feels like it, no matter what his surroundings might be at the time, he’ll declare the need to meditate. If you are not absolutely silent during his meditation, you’ll incur his wrath.
- The La does a great, unintentional stoner impression watching toddler Netflix shows where they construct art projects — she will become zombified.
- “Good for me” food, to CJ, is food that he finds yummy. The concept that anything that isn’t especially yummy might actually be good for him is a concept that’s beyond foreign.
- Leila thinks we don’t notice that she always gets full after eating all of the marshmallows (leaving the cereal) out of a bowl of Lucky Charms
- CJ will spend hours setting up detailed battle scenes out of little army guys and/or any toys that he can get his hands on.
- “I’m hungry, but I’m not hungry for dinner” is a common refrain around dinner time, if/when kids have ice cream or candy on their mind.
- I don’t mind repeated listenings of What Does the Fox Say, just because the kids get such a joy out of it.
- Few things bring such joy to my children as when they get to bring the “Sharing Bag” home from preschool (meaning, the next preschool class, they’ll get to bring in something to share in a “show & tell” with the class). Every time they bring the sharing bag home, we have to fight to keep from getting them to try to fit all of their toys into it.
- Upon hearing that we’re going to head in the car for awhile, it’s important to ensure that we have: juice, snacks, soda for mom, and beer for dad.
- It’s not a trip to Starbucks without a cake-pop (not long ago, however, it was chocolate milk). Either kid will look at you as if you’ve grown a second head if you ask them if they’d like a sip of coffee.
- If I sit down to play the piano, I’ll receive requests to play either Star Wars or Batman. Based upon the request, I’ll either encounter a masked/caped superhero dancing to the music or I’ll catch a lightsaber demonstration.