You’re growing up too fast. Please slow down.
These past two months have been really amazing, Jude. Every day I find myself wishing I had a little notebook and pen on hand to make note of the new things you’re doing and saying.
You eat with regular-sized forks and spoons. You’ve been doing this for a while, but it was just a week or two ago that it really struck me. If Papa or I forget to give you a napkin, you ask for one, and then you use it of your own accord. Somehow you’ve figured out how to eat your soup, cereal, and oatmeal over the bowl, and if you happen to make a mess, you promptly tell us “I spill!” so we can clean it up. Immediately.
You’ve discovered the joy of playing in the snow. Grandma Rose sent you a wooden sled as a surprise (the surprise is, we live in Chicago! It’s flat here!), and a few weeks before Christmas, we got to take it out for a spin. That day, Papa and I took turns pulling you all around the (very flat) park. You call it your “plane” and you ask to take it out even when the ground is dry.
I would be neglectful if I didn’t mention how your use of the English language is growing by leaps and bounds these days. You’re speaking in full (or nearly fully) sentences. You sing along to Weezer and the Alkaline Trio. Before bed we sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star or O Christmas Tree! (even though Christmas is over). You wouldn’t believe the amount of joy Papa and I feel whenever we hear you sing.
Since Christmas you’ve become a one-man-band. During the early morning hours, you like to strum your guitar or play your harmonica or sing. Once 9am rolls around and your drumsticks wake up, it’s a constant clanging of sticks together and the shouts of “One, Two, Three, Four!” coming from your lips. Papa and I love listening to you make music, and luckily, none of the neighbors have complained!
Sometime over the past two months you’ve cut way back on nursing… so far, in fact, that I can probably say that you’ve self-weaned and are done. So! Instead of nursing to sleep, during Advent we adopted a new bedtime routine. Each night we lit the candle(s) on our Advent wreath and read a prayer from the Celtic Daily Prayer book, got changed into jammies, brushed your teeth, and snuggled down into bed to listen to Papa read a story. After that you and I would lie down to talk about our day and go to sleep. We’re still following that same routine, though we’ve replaced the Advent wreath with a simple candle from Grandma Rhonda.
Recently, I spent three days in the hospital. Away from you. Oh, Monkey. I know it sounds melodramatic, but JesusChristAlmighty I missed you. I didn’t want to stay. I didn’t want to be admitted, but I had no choice–I couldn’t walk. While I was at the hospital, your new friend Erin helped you make a card for me. I was so excited to get it. I put it on my bedside table and looked at it whenever I felt sad. When I got home on Tuesday night, you were so happy! You gave me some great (and gentle) hugs and showed me the paintings you had created with our friend Sarah. Maybe I’m making it up Jude, but you seem to have grown so much in those three days we were apart. You seem to be speaking so much more clearly now than you were before I went away. We’re having real conversations… you’re able to tell me about all the things you did and all the toys you played with during the day. Could all of that really have happened over a three-day span? And if so, why did it happen during the three days we were apart?
Witnessing how much you’ve grown over the past two months has me thinking about what life with you will be like tomorrow, next week, next month… I feel so very ready for you to grow up and so very sad that there’s no avoiding it. Sometimes I look at you and wonder where my baby boy has gone. Other times I get caught up in a daydream of what you might be like when you get older. I love you, Jude.