It's January, but it feels like March...or even May. At first, that annoyed me. After all, this is usually the one month that we don't have the run the A/C around here. Which I think it why I became so annoyed. I resisted it so long that the house hit a full 82 degrees of 100% humidity. And considering I was still trying to wear my jeans and long sleeved shirts, and tackle the post-Christmas-season grime of our house...well it was just getting a little ridiculous.
Aquaman has gone from shocking us in his Threes to delighting us with his Fours. He is as intense as ever, but the wonderful sense of humor that I can recall first from early infancy (and that all but disappeared in that tumultuous third year) has returned in full color.
On top of that, this new boy, whose face and belly have flattened and thinned, has even at such a young age- an ambition, energy, and servant's heart that on occasion reduce me to an awed silence as I watch him.
And how he loves his little brother.
Sometimes I wonder if part of the reason that he has settled down behavior-wise is because he has finally forgotten what it was like to be an only child. You can see how much of his identity is wrapped up in being the leader, the protector...the friend.
On this particular playground trip last week, The Dude wanted me to join him on the stairs and going down the slide, which I often do.
But since I was holding baby A at the time, I asked Aquaman to accompany him instead.
At one point, The Dude stopped for a moment in a tunnel, checking out the sights and relaxing. But a small girl behind him did not approve. I watched the whole thing go down. First, Aquaman patiently explained to her that The Dude was still kind of a baby and he would move through in his own time. But the little girl was not pleased with that answer and began to lean into the Dude a little more.
Aquaman positioned himself directly in her face and said "DON'T yell at him. He's only ONE!"
The girl turned around and went to the other way. The Dude continued to pick his nose, or whatever he was doing. And I was left admiring my oldest son. And thinking that of all the things I could do for these boys, the best thing I did was give them each other.
I once heard him humming to himself "I'm a happy helper" from Barney, and traced the noise to the bathroom where he was wiping down the sink with a Clorox wipe.
Of course, with all this growing up, comes the many reminders of the hurt and uncertainties that he is going to face when he goes out into the world alone. I am so proud of his confidence, his ability to stand up for the weak, and his work ethic.
But this year I have also seen how he hides his drawings, his artwork. He often asks me why other children can write their names, and he can't. He is youngest child in his pre-k class, and on top of that has some fine motor delay. I'm hopeful that he is just young. But given his father's history of dysgraphia, I occasionally cringe at the struggles he may someday face.
I am trying to remember what I told JT a long time ago:
It's ok if our kids have to struggle in school. If it helps them to turn out as well as you did...that will be more than enough for me. I still believe it.
In the meantime, our biggest problems are skinned knees, lost monster trucks and shrinking puddles. This is why I love these days, though they are sometimes consumed with the drudgery of sleeplessness, food-all-over-the-floor, and laundry. They are simple. I love simplicity.
Recently, JT found a wounded bird on the beach, and when I lifted up The Dude to see it, he said "you're MY bird. CHEEP CHEEP!"
His hugs will melt your heart, and his biting will make you scream.
He is an endless series of paradoxes and contradictions. Snatching Aquaman's toys with glee, then ceremoniously laying them at his feet, without being asked, with a "yay!" followed by inconsolable sobs.
He will be gone soon, this boy who hasn't quite found his place.
I took a video of this beach sequence while it was happening, and JT and I watched it later. My camera is cheap and the video has relatively poor quality and no sound with it. It reminded us of the Wonder Years clips, and was strangely nostalgic. As if we were watching a time long past.
We will be someday. But what a gift is today, if it is embraced for what it is, instead of what we expected.
This season of life is like a warm January. It isn't scripted, or well planned. It isn't clean, and sometimes it's not real pretty. And if we resist the demands of it, it will make us miserable.
But it's beautiful, and sunny...and when slightly pixelated...