In the space it has taken me to update here, the main character in the last post–this cute plush puff ball in a tracksuit–has become a well-loved remnant of his former self. “Sweatsuit Pup” as Luke affectionately calls him, is still in the top three of Luke’s favored nightly companions. He is very attached, perhaps because this particular stuffed toy provided Luke with a loophole escape out of a very desperate moment. Confronted with the painful fact of change when it comes to the things we love–even the things we love most–Sweatsuit Pup was a convenient lifeline for Luke. If our favorite things also happen to be made of balloon materials, unfortunately these changes are accompanied by a loud popping sound, the sound of insult and injury. Thankfully, I was able to pull Sweatsuit Pup from a stash of stocking stuffers and console Luke on the day of the popping.
It’d be easy to say not much has changed since my last update, but the reality is everything has. My head has been buzzing for weeks with snippets of updates spanning this past half-year. There is an overwhelming amount I’d love to share in this post. I regret how impossible it has been to squeeze the luxury of leisure time from the busyness of our days and sit down long enough to compose a new blog post. I miss my time here and intend to write more often, especially since now I’ve broken my long silence.
Luke and Sam have both transformed so much, each in unique ways. Their depth and complexity astounds me when I stop–I meanreally stop–and think about it, which I don’t have much time for lately–hence the lack of content here. We stay so busy! Aside from the daily list of chores and practical things that keep us occupied, I still strive to fill our days with adventure. Even if the adventure for the day doesn’t land us far outside a one-mile radius from home (which is more often the case now with Sam in the mix) we are always striving to pack the daylight hours with maximum fun.
Luke is still full of inquisitiveness and spunk, bouncing around from thing to thing and thought to thought like the shiny round piece in a pinball machine. He inspects everything closely, as though studying every speck of his experiences in microscopic detail. Several days ago, I reminded him not to overlook something as he busied himself in the kitchen. “Just pay attentions to ‘this,’” I said, half-distracted enough at the time as I hurried to finish packing our lunches that I can’t even recall the specifics of the moment.
“I pay attention to everything,” Luke answered, in the same tone as if I’d just asked what day of the week it was and he responded ‘Monday’ with the confidence of knowing a simple and absolute fact. And he does pay attention to everything, and asks for explanations about any inconsistencies he notices or if he comes across something he doesn’t understand. It is mentally exhausting sometimes!
Sam is a wide-eyed chatterbox with an infectious giggle and a grin that’ll melt your heart if he flashes it at you. He uses the English language with the kind of poetic skill reserved only for the very young and can articulate the most random requests and observations in comedic ways. He uses “ing-words” as nouns and verbs (“Me do that oranging,” he’ll say for “I want an orange” or “Me playing hiding” for “I am hiding from you,” etc.).
Today we walked by a fountain and Sam pointed to it enthusiastically, as though he felt it his obligation as the more observant of the two of us to draw my eye to it also. He called it a “waterfall,” and asked sweetly from my back in the Ergo, “Mama, me make that wish?” (Or, rather, “Mama, me maquk that weesh?” as Sam still pronounces all his “k’s” like a duck quack, something he’s done since one of his first words–”truck”.) He then proceeded to toss four pennies in the fountain, without even a millisecond of pause between them for the actual wishing. Really, the wish is probably a minor detail when you consider how wondrous it must be to watch your tiny copper disk plop into the water four times in a row when you’re two.
Sam responds to any “where?” question with “that way.” And if this doesn’t suffice in directing your attention, he clarifies: “This way.” For example, the other day, Sam’s lip hurt. “Mama, me have owies,” he ran up to me and complained.
“You do? Where?” I asked.
“That way,” Sam said, pointing to his lip. He also answered “That way” when I asked him today where his hat was as he rode on my back in the Ergo. “That way,” he said, and held up his hat for me to see.
Sam knows Super Heros save days. It’s what they do, like dogs bark and cats meow. The other day Sam tugged on my skirt on the ironing board, pulling the whole thing down onto him. He stopped it from falling, calling proudly over to me in the next room. “Mama, me save that day,” he said, and held the ironing board up with all of his two-year-old might until I could come to his rescue.
Together, Luke and Sam make quite a duo. Sam is old enough now to play harmoniously with his big brother for long stretches at a time. Sometimes they even sneak up to their bedroom alone, engrossed in games of (usually) Luke’s invention. Luke also enjoys reading to Sam, an activity which Sam loves just as much. These are some of my favorite times. Not only are they a sweet sight together, snuggled up and cozy with a book between them, but they’re calmly occupied for as long as the reading session lasts. Times like these are rare and generally brief, but golden when they happen!
As he gets older, Luke impresses me on a daily basis with his sweet, kind, and considerate nature. He still brings up the fly he “met” years ago, a fly he befriended on a long drive once. He says now he could never hurt a fly after meeting that one, because all flies look the same and he’ll never know if the next fly is his long-lost friend.
Recently Luke told me of a kid he noticed at summer camp who always ate lunch by himself so Luke decided to eat with him the next day and keep him company. Hearing of this move made my heart swell. I love that these choices come so naturally to Luke. It is just the kind of kid he is to the core. I adore this quality about him.
There was also a day at the pool last week I overheard Luke’s response to a kid who questioned the blue nail polish on his toes (because, according to this other kid, obviously nail polish is only for girls).
“Well, I went to a special place and had them painted there because I like this color and it’s not just girls who want their toenails painted,” Luke told him, with the same matter-of-factness in his voice as if he was defending why he likes pepperoni on his pizza. And it’s true. After months of requests, I finally let Luke come with me for a pedicure. He picked iridescent cobalt blue for his toes, and loved every minute of the experience. I love how Luke busted through the bubble of the other kid’s condescending judgment, unfazed by his comments and responding with a statement of fact. I’m sure there are many little boys Luke’s age and older who’d second his position on toenail colors. I mean, who wouldn’t want a cool color on their toes? I was happy for Luke and his display of self-confidence, so evident in his very assured response.
Given all of these positives, my only complaint lately is the speed at which time is passing. Time, like a turbulent whitewater rapid I’ve fallen into, seems to be swishing us away toward the future at ever increasing speeds. We are so busy and I can’t stand how fast this is passing! The weeks are zipping by at day-speed. All of a sudden, Sam’s toes almost touch the tips of the shoes it feels like I bought less than a month ago. In reality, it’s been several months. It’s been over six months since my last blog entry! Luke is a junior orange belt in Tae Kwon Do, 3 belts up from where he started last October and he will be in first grade in a matter of weeks. Sam can ride a scooter with such agility and speed it’s impossible to comprehend he’s the same helpless baby I held in my arms in what feels like just the last frame of these scenes passing like clips in an animated movie. I want to savor every second of this journey, but sometimes it’s all I can do to muster up the energy to postpone one of Luke’s inquisitive conversation starters with a sigh and, “That’s really complicated, Buddy. Let’s talk about it later.”
I’ve realized parenting young children is like having coveted front row seats to the concert of the century and regretting for the whole show that giant iced tea you drank on the way from home. You want to savor every precious bit, but there’s this persistent tug away from the moment by the dishes in the sink or mound of clothes to be folded on the dresser, not to mention the nap you’re always in a condition to take.
“Mama, pat me,” Sam whispers sweetly, tugging his comforter up to his shoulders as I tuck him into bed. Two thirds of me would stand there and rub his little back for hours until he fell asleep if it’d make him happy while the other third of me can’t wait to bail out of there so he can fall asleep so I can put Luke to bed and finally enjoy some real downtime.
Time is passing swiftly and no matter how hard I dig my heels in about this fact, it passes just the same. I wish I had more of it to sit down and write here, so at least I can always remember the way Sam fell asleep holding his belly button at this age the way other kids suck their thumb or snuggle stuffed animals, among the many gems I want to cherish from these days.
“That happy day,” Sam said to me recently after I’d spun him around in a motorboat circle for about the 4th time in the swimming pool. I appreciate one of the reasons time passes so quickly is we’ve been busy squeezing every drop of joy from it. Most of our days are happy days, and even the grueling ones are filled with mostly happy moments. It doesn’t mean I’m not in countdown ’til bedtime mode from 5:00-8:00 on some days, or that I don’t get frustrated when Sam turns up his nose at everything on his highchair tray, or don’t want to collapse in a sudden nap on the clothes piled high on the bed rather than put them away in their respective closets and drawers. Ultimately, though, I know this time is fleeting and I want to appreciate these moments, exhausted or not. There is so much to savor in these days!