My boys are growing up. Well, all three of the kids are to be honest, but the boys are just becoming such BIG KIDS lately and I'm not sure I'm prepared for it. Sam's once very chubby body is stretching into a longer, leaner, and faster boy, and Jackson's cheeks are the only fat left on his once jowling, jiggling, michelin man rolls body. It feels so strange now to hold Jackson, with his weight distributed from my shoulders to my knees. It's so strange not to feel a diaper separating his bottom from his pants. Underwear fabric is so thin and makes him look that much skinnier. He's riding his bike now on the street. Yes, there are training wheels, but even at that, it's a big boy bike. He drives the motorized truck around like a pro, steering, reversing, and even breaking and skidding to a perfect stop. He sings songs correctly, and enunciates so much more than he did even a month ago. He amazes me with his knowledge of numbers, letters, obscure colors ~ Morning blue? What the? ~ but he is still so much his own person and I dread him losing his confidence, his spark and his uninhibited attitude towards life. Just last week when Connor was over to play, Jackson came out of the playroom brandishing his "magic wand," a light up Disney princess wand my sister brought for Olivia. He waved it around making swirls in the air and dancing and twirling through the room. As Connor walked in pushing a small grocery cart, Jack went prancing over to him, and still waving and twirling his wand said, "Now you be the Daddy, and I'll be the Mommy." Connor just shrugged and said, "Okay." Tammy and I burst into laughter. It was adorable and sweet and just the sort of thing to with which to freak out my husband later that night. He is so excited to plant our first vegetable and herb garden this week and talks about it all the time. He spent much of the weekend covered in dirt as I tilled and worked the soil, and we collected worms into a worm family. I made the mistake of showing them how a worm would not die if cut in half but would regenerate the missing body parts and become a new worm. Doesn't work when you cut them into tiny pieces, but I guess every boy has to learn that for himself.
And my Sammybear, who introduced himself that way to a little boy at the library last week. Upon being asked his name, he smiled, pointed to himself and said "I Sammybear." But come to think of it, the only time I call him Sam is in exasperation, so I guess he would prefer to be called Sammybear since it's my general term of endearment for him. Speaking of which, he has always said "Jashon" since he could talk. But just this week he has begun to say "Jack" and I always mourn the end of a period in their little lives. It's such a small thing, but so significant in so many ways. Someday will I remember without reading this that he said Jashon for nearly two years before ever saying Jack? Will it matter?
Sigh. He is so precious with his peaches and cream cheeks and unbelievably soft and squishy skin. He has been snuggly and needy and sweet and terrible all at the same time these last weeks and if I had the time, I think we could both happily curl up on the couch together and spend each moment of each day wrapped up as close together as possible, him rubbing his hand along my skin, which he loves to do, and me stroking his babysoft cheeks. He napped on me the other day, and fell asleep in our bed with us the other morning. These are things Jack has never done; he is all activity and movement and barely time for a snuggle. Those moments feel so sweet and so precious and yet all I can think about is being trapped under a sleeping child and unable to finish the mound of tasks building with every second. I long to enjoy these things, but find I can only miss them when they're gone instead of enjoying them in the moment.
He says "I love you" and "thank you" and "please sir" (to men, women, boys and girls alike) all the time now and without provocation. He uses his napkin to wipe his hands and covers his nose with his inner elbow when he sneezes. He says excuse me when he "toots" or burps. He shares toys with his friends when they are sad, and runs to baby sister's aid when he hears the first cry after her nap.
And then he does the things that make me shake my head. Like taking the spare crib mattress and using it as a ramp to jump into the crib or pack n play with Olivia. Like leaving the water running after washing his hands. Like throwing dirt or sand in Jackson's face. Like using Olivia as a stepstool to climb up the side of the couch. Like peeing in the bathtub. Like saying he needs to pee but sitting on the potty a million times a day only to pee on the floor when he stands up. Like needing to take his shoes off by himself, even while he throws a tantrum cause he "can't DO it" but when I try to help, "NO, I DO MYSELF" but then he "CAN'T DO IT" and sending me into a fit of frustration with him. Like taking every one of Olivia's toys away from her and putting them where she can't reach them and upon being reprimanded saying "But I was jus cweaning UP!" Like crying for Daddy every time I punish him and crying for Mommy every time Ryan punishes him. Like fighting with Jackson over my pillow every morning. Like dumping all the clothes out of the dresser and tossing them about the room last night while he was supposed to be going to sleep.
Oh, but my Sam I have had an especially soft spot for you these past weeks. I have let you get away with far more than I should as I cling desperately to the idea that you are still a baby and not a little boy. That you are still MY baby boy.
And oh but my Jackson how I marvel at your changes. At your wit and your smile and your contagious personality. At your ability to manipulate us so well and drive us so crazy at the same time. At those huge ocean blue eyes and deep, captivating dimples. At your ability to make friends and your great displays of concern, empathy and sympathy. At the way I feel a friendship with you and know there will always be a unique bond because you were my first.
I love you both and hope to spend more time enjoying every minute, looking forward always to what the future holds, and making sure that at the end of each day, I won't waste all my time in the missing and remembering those things you have already left behind. Thank you for making my life interesting. And thank you for being mine.