What absolutely slays YOU as a parent? One thing I've talked about in the past is Taran's open-hearted nature. How he'll walk up to a perfect stranger, grab their hand and say "come, let me show you something." Ok, not only is this terrifying as a parent because you never know what crazy creeps are out there, but it's also terrifying because when you are so open to the world, inevitably you will find that it is not always a kind place, and this will change you. Maybe dim your light a little. How do you shield a child from this without squelching their joy, kindness, and exuberance for life?! I have no answers to this question, but it's absolutely crushing to think of him having to go through this experience. Perhaps many times over until he builds a defense.
The other thing that is heartbreaking, but in a bittersweet, wonderful way is watching him grow more into himself everyday and know that in the long run, this means that he will grow away from me. The insanity of the human condition... that we allow ourselves to love so, so deeply someone whom we ultimately have to let go!
This past week was Taran's third birthday and so I've been reflecting a lot on how he is evolving as a person - things that I've witnessed from the first days are deepening and new traits are emerging. Taran has always been voraciously curious how things work, the "ins and outs" of things. As a new talker, his first handful of words were "see", "hold it", and "open" and he'd get incredibly frustrated if the object of his fascination could not be opened and explored. That hasn't changed. He's constantly trying to open up pens to see what's inside and when there are ones that are sealed on one end and can't be opened he'll exclaim, "I just want to try" as if by sheer will and determination alone, the task can be done. He can't get enough of new building materials and so, from various friends and family who know him well, he received a few great ones for his birthday this year: a new set of magna-tiles, squigz, tinker toys. I could watch him build for hours. He's so incredibly engaged and focused and I'm fascinated by his descriptions of his works: "a leaf blower", "a skyscraper with a water pipe that goes down into the ground", "a piano", "I don't know Mom, you tell me".
I've also come to realize that he's quite a non-linear thinker. He'll happily make up a story and it's not always clear that he is able to distinguish his own fiction from the truth or whether he just gets a kick out of pulling people's leg. The other day as I was pushing him in a cart through the market, his curly-topped, smiley self caught the eye of a passing elderly lady. As she turned to look at him he informed her "I have cavities". You have what!? Since when?! A few days later he asked me the origin of one of his "owies". When I told him I wasn't sure, he solemnly replied "it's an old basketball injury.
Then there are the truths I wish he wouldn't tell. Like informing the checkout clerk that "Mama and Papa's room is a mess. They need to clean it up." It is, and we do, but Good Lord child! Next time you are just staying home with Papa while I go shopping.
He's such a wonderful, perplexing blend of wild and exuberant, observant and reflective. He's social and then suddenly deeply introverted - he often prefers to stay home and snuggle in a blanket happily building things over what I would expect to be far more exciting choices like play dates or going for ice cream cones. He can be fiercely independent ("I want to do it myself, Mom") and a total barnacle ("Can you stay here in bed with me a long while, Mama? 'Til morning?). I am absolutely enthralled with my child and the process of learning more about him every day.
As I've mentioned before, he loves having his posse near, so what better way to celebrate his birthday then to have Cleveland family come to stay for the weekend. We ate lots of good food all weekend, woke up Saturday morning and made a trek to my favorite metro park to stomp around in a creek and then grilled out with family and friends. As the rain came and went, came and went, people milled under the magnolia tree, chased rocket balloons through the yard,
and ate cake. Lots and lots of cake.
And speaking of birthdays, today marks the end of the "4th trimester", Cally's 3 month birthday. She helped us celebrate by letting me put her in her crib drowsy but awake this morning, where she proceeded to nap for 1.25 hours. Whoo hoo. Of course, the next nap was 7 minutes in the crib, followed by 90 minutes in the swing, and now she's asleep on my shoulder. Baby steps I tell you, baby steps.
Today also marks moving the co-sleeper out of the room and putting her in her crib at night. This for me is a huge heartbreak. I love her breathing next to mine in the night. But every day she gets more wakeful, more alert, more aware of her surroundings. This is wonderfully delightful as we are beginning to see more and more gummy smiles and hear all sorts of cooing an a strange wheezy inhalation of breath which I'm sure is meant to be laughter. But, it also means that her brother's joyful wake-up flight into the room and crash landing onto our bed is wreaking havoc on her sleep (and ours, but that's a whole other story), so it's time for that transition. So many transitions.