welcome to month twenty, the month of running and playing and screaming and talking. the month of boy; the month of kid. i can't explain the way the changes happen, maybe you'll see it first hand yourself some day. one month you're a babbling little toddler and then slowly one by one the new skills accumulate, the wave builds and races and chases until it's a huge swell pushing forward and suddenly a new age dawns when the froth sprays up over the breakwaters. faithfully like the tides the waves build over and over as you grow. i'm aware that it's happening, logically, but that doesn't keep it from blindsiding me every once in a while. well color me waterface, kid. you're getting big.
the revelation occurred again this weekend, which was a lovely counterpart to last weekend when you screamed your head off about every little thing. when the wave reaches fever-pitch times get tough for all of us. growing is hard, i know. i do get it. i don't have a good way to explain to you that i get it, but believe me when i say we do and i try to be gentle with your growing heart. i understand what all the frustration is about. it's stressful to learn so much at once. too many new synapses firing straight up overloads the robot systems. the nice thing is once all is in place and the system resets with a bright shiny new face. holla! every few months after a tough run you're reborn into a lovely new slightly-older-smarter jude. the phoenix rises.
as you get older it seems like the stakes are higher. the brights are brighter and the darks are darker. you're charming, inquisitive, smart, and bold ...and angry, impetuous, demanding, and LOUD. for now these conquests are insubstantial. what to eat. how to put on your shoes. when to go outside. you're learning that when you make your preferences known they may or may not happen. over time i imagine the highs and lows will continue to grow only with things or more earthshaking importance. this, this is how teenagers happen. we all learn to navigate the decisions we get to make, starting with the little bitty ones.
i'll never get over being able to ask you questions and get a semi-rational response. never. not only have we created a little person, now you can communicate! that was the crux upon which i hung my parenting hat when we began and i stand by it– it's incredible, breathtaking, rewarding, and hilarious. it's all the light i imagined it would be. i can't imagine not wanting to hear everything you have to say, everything going through your brain right this second– but remind me of that again in ten years.
so... new stuff, new stuff... you say rock, coloring, shovel, outside, bubbles, hugs (which comes out more like 'huks'), blanket ('mank), and a whole long crazy list of words. you'll just randomly walk up to something new and call it by name. you're starting to make sentences here and there, which is just this side of hilarious. "go outsideee?" "here you go dada, thank you!" (which sounds more like 'ere 'ou go dada, 'ank ou!)
i need a secret pocket toddler translator, because i keep forgetting that 'mank is blanket and you run around yelling MANK MANK MANK and not understanding why i haven't handed it to you yet. my bad, i need to catch up with the dialect. you also jabber a whole bunch of nonsense, but we're not entirely sure that it is nonsense because you're so dearly convinced that they're real words. we often look at each other with puzzled faces and try to figure out what the hell you could be asking about that's called a "grock."
we've stopped nursing, for good i think. you're not all that interested and neither am i, but the change in routine has been difficult. you're searching for a new way to find that same closeness. often in the evening now you'll curl up on dad's lap and just sit for a while, staring off into space and storing up some cuddles as a buffer against the day's events. sad for me but nice for him. i've hoarded all the cuddles for too long.
you've started to come out of your shell at the playground. you want to play with all the kids, no matter how much older they are. your honest little face and genuine determination to play with the big kids is like a stab to the heart. it's nearly painful to watch how unselfconscious you are about it. i'm a grizzled jaded old hen and over the years we learn the delicate game of social navigation. play it cool, don't be too eager, be aloof. watching you now is a vicious reminder that some day you'll have to learn about the painful art of playground politics like the rest of us. for now though, i wonder in your total confidence that everyone is good.
you love bang. you love cars. you love pillows, blues clues, and eating (with a wild unconquerable passion). you love to put on your own shoes. you love to walk yourself up to bed at night and recline in your dimly lit room and listen to music. you are independent and shiny, zen boy. not much phases you for long. let it roll off.
we are happy.
the first twenty months were good. the next one will be better. it always is.
May 9, 2011
letter to jude · month 20
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