You and I share a funny behavioral tick. I first discovered it when I was 8 or 9 years old in ballet class. During floor exercises, when we’d glide across the floor practicing our dance moves, the instructors would sometimes point at me and giggle. I felt it was a judgement on my dance ability (which wouldn’t have been shocking; I’ve always moved a bit like a gorilla), but one day I overhead an instructor say to my mother, “I’ve just never seen someone stick out their tongue like that!”
To this day, I catch myself doing this when deeply concentrating on something. There I’ll be, trying to yang out feisty strands of gray hair with a pair of too-small tweezers, and glance at the mirror to see my tongue hanging out like a dog.
Well, you do this, too! I notice it mostly when you’re working on puzzles with furrowed brows. It’s sweet that we share this trait (in fact, Google tells me it’s actually pretty common).
Lolling tongues aren’t the only discoveries made in the last month. You learned that you like the pool! We usually don’t have access to a pool, so a pool party at Ashleigh’s relatives’ house was a special treat. You were uncertain in the beginning, but quickly decided it was more fun to be in the pool than sit on the side.
I had a strangely wonderful experience then. You see, Grandma Z’s treasured video collection includes many happy scenes of Uncle Dan and I playing in the pool with other kids, splashing and climbing all over our parents. Beatles songs float through the background and sweating beer cans line the pool.
While bobbing in the water with you, it struck me: I have become my parents. We all have become our parents! This is something they experienced, this is something their parents probably experienced, and each generation is simply playing out the same wonderful scenes over and over again. I felt kinship with parents everywhere and at every time.
Speaking of my parents, I wonder how they handled these head-strong years. Your new favorite saying is, “NO. Don’t HAVE to!” You get into moods in which you hate to hear me sing. The other day in the car, during my soaring rendition of “Part of Your World,” you nearly screamed your head off to stop. I lowered the music, told you in no uncertain terms that I wanted to sing and you couldn’t do anything to stop me so neener-neener-neeener, and kept going. Motherhood? Ruling.
Despite these moments, you continue to be an inquisitive, smart, sweet, and brave boy. Each time you see the letter “C,” you excitedly exclaim, “Look, it’s my C!” You’re putting together 36-piece puzzles like it’s no big thing. You told me the ocean ate the sun when it set. You’ve begun saying, “Mommy, watch this!” when you want to show off a new skill. You love making us laugh.
Neil Armstong, the first man to walk on the moon, died a few weeks ago, so we’ve been talking to you more about astronauts. The idea that someone walked on the moon fascinates you. You want to talk about it all of the time. We’ve tried to move on to Curiosity, the Mars rover, but extra-terrestrial robots controlled by humans on Earth may still be a few years away.
A few weeks ago, you slept over Savannah’s house for the first time. You were upset going to bed (lots of “I want my mommy,” “I want my daddy”), but were able to calm down and get a good night’s sleep (despite almost falling out of Savannah’s big-girl bed a few times). I was so proud of you, my boy.
I’ll leave you with a sweet story. As you know, Daddy and I like to play music in the evening. When a slow song came on one night, your Dad whisked me in his arms and we started swaying. You decided this was NOT alright. “Stop! Stoaaaaaaaappppppp!” you screeched. We tried to hold your hands and include you in a circle, but you wouldn’t have it. It wasn’t until I grabbed the other end of the garbage truck you were holding that you acquiesced to all four of us dancing for a time.
My sweet little man. What joy you bring to our lives.