Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Birthday Thoughts

My Little Dude turns two years old tomorrow.

Tonight, when I put him to bed, there was none of his usual protest and demand for distraction from the hideous reality of bedtime. He put his little cars into his cot himself and, when I said, for the final time, "Goodnight, my little one year old boy, I love you", he said "Night-night!" in a surprisingly calm and business-like way and looked set to roll straight over and go to sleep. There was just something so mature about it.

He is growing up, my Little Dude. Having hardly thought about his birthday today, I am now sitting here with tears pricking behind my eyes, remembering the night he was born and thinking about how lucky I am.

By coincidence, a dear friend of mine is due to have her baby any moment. Some of you may remember that we offered to have her stay at our place to have the baby. We planned the whole thing, but she ultimately decided to have the baby in her own home town with the support of her family. We have stayed in touch through the pregnancy, she was due some days ago, and now when I call, I am only getting her answering machine. Tonight may just be the night!

I am thinking of her very much. To give birth to a child is a privilege, yes, but also such a lonely and arduous task. Superficially, it seems like there is so much support - the hospital, the partner, etc - but at the same time, you are ultimately alone in it, with only your strength and your courage to sustain you. Tonight, I really, really wish that I was with her.

But back to the Little Dude - I think I will always think of this year as the Year of Trucks. At Christmas, I bought him his first ever truck and he just fell in love with it. He exclaimed, he laughed, he exulted as if he simply couldn't believe there could be such a fascinating object in this world, and since then, he has been obsessed with buses, cars, anything with wheels, but especially trucks.

It has also been the Year of Talking. My Little Dude is a bright little presence, but not especially advanced with his talking. I must admit to having had my moments of counting up the words he's said and comparing them with other kids I know. But lately, he had made a lot of progress. Almost every day, he has new words. I would have thought that a child would use words to communicate things he wants (eg, "milk" or "biscuit"), but there is something really sweet about the way he just uses them to share his enthusiasms ("Blue car!" "Big truck!") or even to name what we are doing and seem to think is important ("Coffee!")

But it has also been the Year of Fun. A baby is very beautiful, but they don't really do very much. My Little Dude as a toddler is such a clever, funny little person. In the mornings, lately, he pounds on my bedroom door until I let him in, hops into bed with me, then puts his head on the pillow and pulls up the quilt and pretends to snore. He sounds exactly like the Big Dude, who could snore for Australia, and is clearly imitating him. His other favourite activity lately is putting his feet into my shoes and clumping all around the house- often naked except for the huge shoes and sometimes a big cloth shopping bag over his head!

I was at a kid's birthday party the other day and a woman from our original childbirth class, a woman much more high-powered on the career front than me, asked if the Little Dude was in childcare yet. She added, with a slightly withering expression, "Or do you think he's not ready yet?" It was pretty clear that she thought I was soft and indulgent and not fully taking account of the excellent social and other skills kids learn in childcare.

Actually, it's me who's not ready yet. Career, be damned! This kid is so much fun, and there is so much joy to be had just from being with him. I am far too selfish to hand him over to someone else to enjoy!


Blogger Phyllis RenĂ©e said...

I would've given anything to stay home with my kids while they were growing up! Instead, they were raised by strangers. Think about. Eight hours most days, five days a week, for nearly 13 years.

7:51 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Oh, Em - you should have told your friend to put a sock in it. You, yourself, are way more important to your Little Dude than the next dollar you make is. . .

And - Happy Birthday to the Little Dude!

12:28 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

Happy birthday to the little one!

And there is sure nothing wrong with putting off the "childcare" for as long as possible. Like most kids, he'll be taught and raised by so many other adults and teachers as the years go on... Stay with him as long as you can!

2:02 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

what more could I add to what desmond said? he is absolutely right :) oh and happy b-day to the little dude. terrible twos the time goes by so fast enjoy as much of it as you can...

2:03 PM  
Blogger Mu Ling said...

He sounds like a sheer delight. Happy Birthday to Little Dude -- and to you -- it's the day on which you gave birth, you amazing woman you!

7:25 PM  
Blogger kissmekate said...

Happy birthday Little Dude!

I am with you. Babies are gorgeous and sweet and cuddly. But toddlers are so innocent and funny. They are comical in their own way and bring constant joy to your life.

Enjoy every day Emily because before too long they grow up into smart mouthed teenagers!

10:15 PM  
Blogger Sailor said...

Happy birthday- late- to the Little Dude!

What a wonderful time toddler-hood is; as we've watched our four grow, all the ages have been special in their own way, but there is something so wonderfully appealing about that enthusiasm and joy they have.

As to the other lady- pppppbbbbbbttttt on her. Be glad that you have this time with him, treasure it and rejoice in it.

7:19 PM  

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