See this picture:
I love it.
You look like such a big boy. And I have been to this playground with you many times and you love walking on this bench thing so much. You always want to do it more more more. And you make the sign for “more” to show me. On this day you went with Daddy and so I got to see what you were up to because he sent the picture to me on my phone. And somehow it looks like you’re the only one there. And you are clutching an F train. Overnight it seems you became hopelessly enamored with cars, buses and trains and you like to say “car” every time you see one. So walking down a street with curbside parking with you is very interesting. Car car car car car car car car. Car. You are not bored with each one you pass. And I am thankful we live in London where exclaiming “bus” so enthusiastically really is justified. They are bright red and double-decker. After all. What you don’t know is that F train you are clutching is from another lifetime of your Daddy and me. When we lived in Brooklyn, New York in the coolest neighborhood, and rode the coolest subway to get to the city. Everyone knows it’s the coolest. And this shirt you’re wearing was brought by a friend in Seattle. And so it reminds me of yet another city we love. Cities all over to love. And I wonder what you’re looking at. Could be a pigeon. Or a dog barking. And you’re wearing on your feet what I call your first Crocs. Even if I bought them at a French baby store where they would say their shoes are superior to Crocs. Maybe. But look how ridiculously cute you are.
And then this same day later on, you woke up too early from a nap and came out into the living room with only this shirt on and your diaper all baggy, your still-chubby legs on full display, a pacifier in your mouth, red full cheeks, crazy disheveled blond bed hair sticking every which way and a grumpy, confused expression on your face. And I realized, you’re a big boy sometimes. But also you are still our baby.
You are very funny with your ‘hi’s and ‘bye’s. You say hi to every stranger you see and sort of stare them down until they say hi back. You like to say bye bye, if not on command, then either too soon or too late. When one of us happens to put on a shoe or zip a bag in the morning, you sometimes just look up from your cereal bowl and very matter-of-factly say bye-bye to Daddy or me. As if we are not leaving fast enough. But when we Skype your grandparents, you refuse to say bye until the call has been hung up and the computer makes a beeping sound. Bye bye.
You also race to the toilet if you know we might be flushing it and in a very cheery and upbeat way, you proclaim BYE BYE! to the water going down the bowl. And then you ceremoniously close the lid. And I just wonder what the world would be like if everyone felt so positive and content and supportive of flushing a toilet.
You have new words every day and some you have decided to say in a cockney accent (“no” or “oh no”) and some posh (“car”) and some American (“mama”) and some your own way (“pawp” = park). You know that Cookie might mean one of your favorite Sesame Street characters or it might be something you yell for from the cupboard. And today I think you really just started your first sentences. That’s car. That’s boat. I love so much that you can communicate more and more what you see and what you want and we get to see more and more of your personality each moment.
You are just mischievous enough to be very, very funny. If you know we want you to come to us, you pretend to and then run away. But you come back again with a sly smile- waiting for us to laugh and confirm your superior sense of humor. Or you might be threatening to drop a small toy into our water glass but you keep looking at us, to see if we’ll protest, daring us to protest. And that sly smile again. And you never really drop the toy. But you get close. Because you know it’s funny and you know we’ll laugh and you know we think you are the most clever, clever boy in the whole world.
You play very independently but you love to be near us and show us your excitement at things. Lego towers, animals that make sounds or that can be clutched in a fist, your Peppa Pig ride-on. When I am the only one home with you, you are my shadow and I love it. But you always bring your toys with you. Or you just empty a box of tissues or container of q-tips instead. Some day I won’t be this pregnant, and I’ll be back on the floor with you- playing at your level. Seeing the world from your vantage point. In that astounded and perfect way where your mouth is agape and your eyes big and wide and you’re smiling and you can’t believe what you just saw or ate or heard.
I often say you’re a daddy’s boy and the way you react when he comes home at night will always be legendary in our family I think. Big wide eyes and hugest tooth-filled grin and your whole body consumed with disbelief that Daddy really came home and elation that it is happening. And you say his name over and over and you squirm and wriggle and contort and run to see him, no matter what you were in the middle of. And the whole world feels perfect at that moment. To me too.
I often say you’re a daddy’s boy, but actually lately especially you are a mama’s boy too. I get home first from work and turn the key and the door is just a hairline crack open and you run to it. Or you come into the bathroom every time I am in there excited to show me something new. Or there you are by the bed when I am sneaking some extra sleep on the weekend. And in the mornings so early we hear on the monitor while we know you are just standing patiently in your crib. And each and every time you say it. You say over and over. Mama Mama Mama Mama Mama Ma Ma Ma Ma MaMaMa Mamamamamamamama.
That’s me, my love. Your one true. Always and forever for all time and space.