Thursday, September 29, 2011

A new kind of love

At 19 months old, there is a new kind of love in our lives. It is a love for every single little thing once deemed mundane, boring, or old hat. It is the simplistic love for life that we learn from our children.

Have you ever stopped to think about how delicious mint flavored dental floss tastes in your mouth. It is not only refreshing, but quite entertaining to run the flavored string through your lips. Over and over and over. My son is my teacher and I am his all star student.

Cleaning is the best thing in the world. Max cries to be a part of the janitorial crew. I expected it to be a disaster when I let him hold the broom, but he sweeps with control and pride. He aches to assist me and I happily oblige even though it takes me about three times longer to do chores at home and at the yoga studio.

This month Max has figured out how to put on his shoes all by himself. I never even 'sort of' taught him. One day I told him we were going to the park and it was time to put on his shoes. A little while later I was looking for his baby crocs and couldn't find them because he had put them on his feet all by himself. I was more than a little surprised and tickled to see that they were not only on, but they were on the correct feet.

Every day is proof that children are sponges for learning. When we are walking into our house he knows which key gets us in the front door and insists on holding out the black key. He jams the key in the door for me--even if it means I have to wait an extra hour to get in the house. How chivalrous....He is quite a lady's man!

My son loves helping me make breakfast in the mornings. He knows which ingredients go into our fruit smoothies and takes an enormous amount of joy in dropping the strawberries, bananas, almonds, kale and ice into the blender. Sometimes if I get tired of holding him up to the counter I will bring the blender to the floor so he can really be in charge of which ingredients accidentally end up in his mouth.

First of all, how many babies get fresh kale in their breakfast! But really, how many babies get to make their own breakfast....hahaha!!! I include him on the majority of the production other than stirring the hot oatmeal. Running around the house with a wooden spoon is the next best option. And he generally seems pretty happy with that.

Max interestingly decided he was "done" with his pacifier this month. After he got his last tooth, he didn't seem to need it anymore. I always thought he was chewing on it a lot for teething, and maybe I was right after all. You hear about moms figuring out the most creative ways to wean their children off the paci, and luckily it looks like I don't have to worry about that!

Since Max never has a pacifier in his mouth anymore, he is becoming a lot more verbal. He is constantly pointing at things to learn the name of it. He will poke at me just to hear me say, "elbow, cheek, knee, foot, toe....Yes, you have an owie on your toe. Yes, mommy will kiss your toe. (Then he kisses his own toe.) hair, eye, hair, yes, that is my hair. gentle with my hair please. Ow! Stop pulling my hair. Thank you. (He points to my nose.) Nose. Ok Max, don't stick your finger so far up your nose. I don't want you to hurt yourself. Yes, I have two ears. One, two. So do you. Ear. Ear."

And then he mimics me the best he can. He pokes at my eye and says, "ah. ah. (He pronounces the I sound like a west texan...he knows his roots!) nose. chee. chee." And his default for every body part he does not know is nose. He will call it nose if he doesn't know the name of it or has a hard time saying it. And we could go on like that for hours and hours....

Last week Max got to visit with a turtle for the first time. He was fascinated with Stanley and pointed at him for a very long time before he decided to softly pet him the way we touch the kitty. This lady had brought her turtle to the park for the kids to enjoy and I thanked her tremendously because it was such a hit amongst the little ones, including Max.

There are so many activities that we enjoy on a regular basis. Max loves music so we frequently go to children's concerts live at the grove on thursdays and he will dance and dance with his crew. He loves swimming and I take him to splash and squeal in the water whenever I can. He goes on hikes with me and insists on hiking the first mile before he will let me carry him. He opens my car door for me. When I spill something he grabs a rag and helps me clean. When he sees me getting in the shower, he rips off his diaper and runs in to pee. And he eventually gets cleaned.... Life with an active toddler and his sweet friends is awesome!

This morning, he pointed to the door and said "Da-Da". I explained to him that daddy was working and we would see him later. Then he pointed to a picture of all of us on the wall and said, "Da-Da, Ma-Ma, Ki-Ki, and Mahsch (Max)". And while we were driving to the concert today he saw the back of a man with dark hair and said "Dah-Dah!" Of course I explained to him that the man he saw looked like daddy, but we would see daddy later. Somehow he seemed to understand. They are growing so close!

Just when you think your love for a person couldn't grow any stronger, it does. Sometimes I feel like we hug and kiss all day, and that is quite all right with me. My son is constantly introducing me to a new kind of love.... For him. Myself. And life.