Surprise endings.

I hear it before I have a chance to even see it, and I instantly know what has happened. I hear the familiar bloop bloop of water sloshing around in the coveted, “Adults only,” glass that Collin’s noodle arm has somehow swiped off the table. Now, here he comes around the corner, his face a mask of delight as he clutches his prize.

This can end in one of two ways:
A) There will be a flood of water all over the living room that will soak up all our paper towel rations, and potentially damage something.
B) There will be a flood of water, and a million shards of glass all over the place that skitter in every direction after the cup is flung to the floor. Damage is definite.

Added to my dilemma, is the fact that I am exhausted, and even the thought of impending glass doom  is not motivation enough to get off the couch and fetch the glass from the baby. Collin pauses when he sees me, and I put on my best fake happy face. I reach out my hand, and say, “Give it to Mommy! Give it to Mommy!”

What a rookie mistake. Collin is instantly aware of how much I really don’t want him to have tha!t water glass, and he smiles even wider, clutches it to himself, and shuttles away like a hunchback, eyeing me warily. Now, it’s serious. Game on. We both just stare at each other for a minute, testing each other out.  I’ve still got my plastered grin on my face, and Collin is still giddy with mischief. I’m beginning to realize that he is not going to throw the cup, at the same time he is beginning to realize that I am not going to get off the couch.

Slowly, without taking his eyes off me, he brings to glass to his lips. Only… Rats! He has suddenly forgotten how to tilt it and drink. I see my moment to strike.

“Bring it to Mommy. Mommy will help.”

He hesitates. Should he trust me? Is it all a lie?

He edges a little closer.

“That’s it! Bring it to Mommy!”

Careful now, I remind myself,   don’t want to sound too eager and rouse suspicion.

At last, he is within reach. He brings the cup to my lips, and I gratefully pretend to drink. He relaxes, and I relax. Suddenly, he is straddling my lap, feeding me the water, and dumping it all over himself 
in his attempt to drink out of the grown-up glass. Collin is feeling very proud of himself, and so am I.

Suddenly, I am seeing that there is a third way this can end, an option C:

Nobody cries, nobody gets hurt, and I realize just how far Collin has come. And I am eternally grateful for moments like these. 


The business of growing up

Every day, I wake up, and everything is the same, yet different. Collin is growing so fast, it almost isn’t noticeable. I go about my days in a blur, and by the end of the week, I find myself standing amidst a whirlwind of toddler chaos, wondering, how long has Collin been talking like that? Since when has he been putting his boots on by himself? And what happened to my baby??

What happened to my baby? In all honesty, I’ve stopped asking myself that question for a while now. My little tiny baby is long gone, to be replaced with this exuberant little person that is so so busy discovering the world. And, actually, I’m not too sad about it. That is, until I stumble across a video of him, weeks old, with his little grunts and sniffles and innocence. I do love the Collin I have now. He’s so silly and curious, case in point, tonight:

Collin: Picks up a shoe and puts it on his hand, like a puppet. His face screws up in confusion. He knows a shoe is supposed to be put on, but he can’t remember where. He looks at me for reinforcement.

Me: “Your shoes go on your feet, love.”

Collin: His face lights up. Aha! That’s right! Shoes go on feet.

I know its been awhile since I’ve blogged here. So what does my life look like now?

Collin still sleeps in our bed, but he starts out in his own “big boy” bed: a toddler mattress on loan from V, on the floor of our room, squeezed between the wall and our own mattress on the floor (mattress on the floor is the safest way to go if you’re bed sharing). Collin is very pleased with this. His bed is his very own space in this house, which is such a shared mismatch of the three of us. Our books and Hindu statues right amongst his toys and treasures. Given the unavoidable nature of our one-bedroom apartment, there is no nursery, no toy room. Also, given the unavoidable nature of Collin’s curiosity and his long, gangly arms, there is very little space that is out of Collin’s reach.  There is almost nothing we use that Collin does not use.

In our lives, in my mind, in my heart, Collin has bloomed into an active member of our family, as opposed to the adorable but helpless infant, that you love, but only stares at you blankly when you talk to him. Collin has a lot to say, all the time, with his words, but mostly with his signs. Milk, food, kitty, please, Mickey Mouse, water. His hands are in constant motion, communicating with us in ways he wouldn’t be able to otherwise. I’m so glad we use signs with him. He catches on to new signs so quickly these days, we only have to show him a new sign once, and he’s off.

My days have been considerably less lonely now that Collin is “a person,” with opinions and communication, and his devilish sense of humor. The baby days can be so isolating. I miss the warm bundle of baby that used to hold still in my arms long enough for me to bury my nose in his little neck and breathe him in, but I don’t miss the hours of talking to myself. Collin, while engaging and loud and crazy, is also so mellow and go-with-the-flow. He is so much like Husband and me. He is game for anything, thrives without the constraint of a rigid schedule, loves a good adventure, and is happy to spend the whole day out of the house, doing something.

I couldn’t anticipate the feeling of swelling love/ pride/ joy/ astonishment whenever Collin tries to mimic something we do, or shows some amazing leap of independence and budding personhood: like tonight, when he jumped onto the couch, straddled my lap, took my bowl and spoon out of my hands and started feeding me my corn flakes. Complete with the little encouraging lip-smacks. Sometimes, I can only stare at him in wonder. This business of growing up is so huge, so beyond what I can comprehend. Collin is becoming the person he will be for the rest of his life, and I am his mother, his mother. The core of his self-esteem and self-worth, his courage, his security.

All in all, I’d say, at 17 months, we’re doin pretty well.