Monday, October 22, 2012

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.

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