The Little Years

I wish I could freeze time and keep my kids little forever. But, alas, they grow. Mister Man turned 4 & 1/2 last month and his sister is now 2 plus three months. If I lie in bed and close my eyes, breathing slow and steady, I can remember what it was like when they were fresh bundles, smelling of baby powder and spit up. But those first twelve months passed by in the blink of an eye, really. Those were the times when they were so fragile and new and we didn’t have any clue what kind of personality they’d have. Now is the fun time, according to my husband.

I’d have to agree with him.

Our son has detailed discussions with his sister on what the various rooms in his Lego fire station contain. He says things like, “Vivi, people who are silver and stand still are called statues,” while we’re driving and my husband and I just look at each other and smile. He’s now tall enough to reach the kitchen sink and wash his hands without standing on a step stool.

He writes his first and last name in capital letters and is working hard on learning the lower case ones. A few weeks ago we were playing Restaurant in his kitchen and he wrote out his very first menu, asking me how to spell things like Hamburger, Coffee and Cheese. Several times a day, he’ll hear a word he doesn’t know and will ask its meaning. I’m amazed and so proud of how inquisitive he is.

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My little man makes friends easily, but is stingy with sharing his beloved toys. He has a best buddy at preschool, but sometimes on the drive home when I ask him who he played with that day, he’ll say, “Nobody. I just played by myself.” Not in a sad way. He is just really good at independent play and can become immersed in his own little imaginary world which I love to watch. There are plenty of years of running around with friends ahead of him, I’m not concerned with his preference for solo playtime right now.

He wakes up every morning precisely at seven o’clock. The soft, baby blue security blanket he was so attached to for the first three years of his life has slowly moved to the bottom of his list of favorite toys. It’s now trucks and blocks and {gasp!} Legos that he spends his playtime with. The last exchange of our day used to be me singing “Twinkle, Twinkle” while snuggling him tight, tucking the covers around his little frame all curled up. Now, we simply read three books and give goodnight kisses before shutting off the light and sending him into sleepy dreamland. Just like that. My big boy.

His sister is turning into a big kid too, right before our eyes. Her four word strings must have been taking their vitamins because over the course of a week they grew into five word sentences and now six. Just yesterday the little princess amazed me with, “I want to go to the playground, Mommy!” Said like the true firecracker she has become.

Our daughter literally turns into a fish on Saturday mornings at swim class. Bored of the same old songs and skills which she mastered several months ago, she makes her own fun now, much to her teacher’s chagrin. Climbing out to give Daddy a quick kiss, then swan diving back in and flipping underwater before surfacing are her show-off tricks. We’ve become used to a minimum of two other parents each week asking us how old she is and how long she’s been taking lessons.

I love hearing her baby doll voice, her inflections sticky sweet with a cherry on top sometimes, and other times the whine is so sharp I want to pull out some cheese and crackers to go with it. The little miss has a slight obsession with pink lately and when we read her book on colors {which I bought specifically so that I could teach her the rest of the colors of the rainbow} she turns straight to the two pages on pink saying, “I yike pink, Mommy.”

Art is a passion of hers, I can already tell. Both our kids are in their element when they’re creating, actually. Put a coloring book, some markers and crayons in front of them and I’ve easily bought an hour of quiet busy time. I can’t wait for summer when I’ll be able to put them on the deck with art supplies and their easel and small table to see what they crank out for display on the fridge.

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I know they won’t always be so small that I need to get down on my knees to wrap my arms all the way around them for hugs. I know there will come a time when I’ll no longer have to sort through their entire wardrobe twice a year to purge the outgrown stuff and replace it with new clothes the next size up. I know there will come a time when I’ll no longer have to prep and serve every single meal and snack.

I know there will come a time when I’ll have to let go. 

But for now, I’ll grab hold of these moments that fly by so fast and I’ll do my best to engrave them on my memory for ever.

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