Sunday, November 02, 2008

Observing the changes

Everyone says that the time flies when your kids are young. That "this age will be over before you know it" and all of the other cliches. I know that cliches are cliches because they are true.

Both Maxfield and Wyatt are at developmental phases in their lives and they are both changing. I have been really trying hard to pay attention to those changes so I can remember them in the future. Wyatt is in his terrible twos, full swing, and is speaking in full defiant sentences that both piss me off and crack me up. Wyatt does not simply yell "NO" to tell us he is not going to do something. He explains it to us.

"I do not want to eat my peas. I do not want to eat my meat. I want you to get me dessert. Now. Pleeaaase." Is Wyatt's way of explaining he is not going to eat his dinner.

Every parent knows that the terrible twos is the first phase the child goes through in order to make their own choices and become more independent.

Now Max, on the other hand, knows that he is independent. He is growing up so nicely into a little boy I am afraid I am going to turn around and he will be a teenager. I have been paying particularly close attention to him and the changes he is going through. He is on his way out of that "terrible toddler defiant" mode. I have become so used to some of his tantrums as a toddler that I forgot that Max would eventually be a little boy. Sure he still has his moments of crying and carrying on but they are becoming fewer and farther between.

Over the past few weeks I have been lucky enough to see him in settings I am not used to witnessing. I attended a school trip, a school function, a birthday party and there was Halloween. At each one of the these occasions I found myself in awe of his ability to adapt and fit in and make the right decisions and do the right thing.

On his school trip I was on his turf and he took the lead. He introduced me to some kids in his class. Without prodding or suggestions Max said, "This is my dad. Dad this is Julianna. And this is Andre." I could not stop smiling at how proud I was of him for taking the initiative. The rest of the trip he made the decisions as to where we would sit on the hay ride and what pumpkins we would pick and even when we would leave. He is growing from a toddler to a little boy right in front of my eyes.

At the birthday party he introduced himself to a couple of other kids and he went off to play with them by himself. Some of the older kids were playing wiffle ball and Max got his turn at bat. When he struck out, he did not cry or demand a do over. Max gave the bat the next kid. Max did the right thing.

While trick or treating Max said "thank you" at every house. He is saying the right things. Max is no longer a toddler. He is a little boy.

Like I said, I have been watching him. I am noticing the changes. Max holds conversation with adults and he uses words like "actually" and "prefers" and "condensation" and other words I did not think a four year old would know. He talks about God and "What ifs" and dreams. I am not saying that Max is smart I am just amazed that he is paying attention to us and to himself too. Max is a little boy growing into a big boy.

Lately I have been overwhelmed with mixed feelings regarding how much Max has grown, physically, mentally and emotionally, over the past 10 months. I am proud of his independence but it also saddens me. For the past four and half years of his life I have been his best friend. But now, he is becoming independent of me. I am losing my little guy. He still needs me, but needs me less and less. I know he is now starting down the path where I have to be more of a father to him than his friend. I am sad because I am losing my friend Max.

This morning the whole family went to the playground and I was thinking about how grown and independent Max is when I let him run ahead of me. The invisible tether, in which I have had him leashed to me, is getting longer and longer. I felt sad. I tried to focus my attention to Wyatt who still needs someone to push him on the swing and follow him up the ladders to the slides, who still needs a friend.

I watched Max converse with other kids and he did not need me to steer the conversation. I let Max talk to other adults and watched how he conducted himself and I was very proud of him. I realized that "time was flying" as I helped Wyatt up some tire steps and I thought about how I used to do the same with Max. My heart stung a little. And as I was caught up in my own little world I realized Max was not playing with anyone else. He was sitting by himself in the sand box, his head, looking up at the trees, tilted slightly to one side, his bottom lip slightly protruding from his top lip. He sat there, that way, for a few minutes.

I handed Wyatt off to Lauren and I walked over to see if everything was okay. Part of me knew he was thinking of something profound about God and the trees changing colors and the chilly November winds. Part of me was hoping he was going to ask me to play with him. And maybe I got a bit of sand in my eye and a little lump in my throat because I was missing my little boy immensely when I finally asked him if everything was alright.

He turned his head towards me and I could see the sun glistening off his face.

"I'm fine dad. I am just trying to eat my snot." He said and he licked his upper lip.

I smiled from ear to ear. My little boy was back for a few minutes at least.

32 comments:

RzDrms said...

aaahhh. you freakin' slay me, dude.

Lowa said...

Man!

You got me all teary eyed and going down memory lane with all my kids and the milestones and realizing they don't need you as much and the invisible tether gets longer, etc.

Then the snot thing:)

Glad your little friend was back, even if just for a few seconds. It is truly incredible how much they soak up and how quickly. I especially love to hear the things they say about God.

C. said...

Boys are so gross ;)

Susie said...

At this moment, this is my favorite post on the internet.

You're not saying Max is smart? Why the hell not? Say it. He is.

If I had had my coffee yet, I'd be calculating when Max can run for President. He reaches out to people, he tells it like it is, he's a uniter, not a divider . . . He's got my vote.

Patience said...

Awww! He's growing up into a little man! A little man who will eventually learn to eat his own snot. Nice.

mrtl said...

Where's the poop? :)

I love your stories, Bill!

eclectic said...

Go Max, go! You're awesome, li'l guy!

From our experience so far, I haven't found an age or stage yet that isn't both a challenge and a blessing. Each age they reach becomes my new favorite.

Charity Donovan said...

I so get it. Glad your trip to the park had a happy ending.

Bogart in P Towne said...

A well behaved child points directly to good parents...and a kid that makes good decisions points directly to great parents. I will let you figure out if you fit into those categories.

beeeeeeeee said...

It's only a matter of time before he gets good loogies going...

Leenie said...

That was beautiful. All teary-eyed at work...

iVegasFamily said...

No matter how old they get, they still retain a little bit of that little boy behavior. I know I still have my moments and I'm 29 plus 5.

The snot thing = gross. But boys will be boys.

gigglepotamus said...

mmmm... pass the chips.

Ra-Ra-Ra-Rachel said...

Max IS smart! He sounds amazing! You had my tearing up and then a great little laugh at the end! Love this post!

Anonymous said...

Does that invisible tether thing work on Lauren?

James Austin said...

I can't now imagine the day Lukas won't consider me his best friend. Hang in there, that must be tough.

Ali said...

With Lauren is wasn't the Terrible Two's, it was the MFing Three's.

You're a great story teller.

Paula said...

It's amazing isnt it? And as they grow older the sad times will be sadder, and the happy times will be happier. And they may need you less often .... but they wont need you any less.

MichelleB said...

Ahh boys will be boys, max is adorable! Our boy is very smart, and helped my hubby pick out a gorgeous diamond necklace from www.idonowidont.com for my birthday.

He told my hubby 'mommy needs bling' though I have no idea where he learned the word Bling from, but they its adorable!

Oh, The Joys said...

The Mayor? Same. Same.

Practically Joe said...

Great post.
The last feelings like those you mentioned came for me when my youngest daughter backed out of our driveway the same day she got her license.
She no longer needed dad to take her anywhere.

For you ... there's so much more to come.

Melanie said...

No fair for making me cry! My oldest is just a little younger than Max and I am starting to notice things too. It's so bittersweet and I know that I will really miss our moments together. But I do look forward to some of the interesting conversations to come.

Jody said...

That is so not how I thought that would end. I was with you on the growing up phases until then.

Thanks for the comment on my post about how my life could have been.

Sassy said...

I took Bella to the doctor when she was 22 months old because she was acting weird. I thought she had an ear infection, turns out, she had a bad case of the terrible twos! Haha-

How ya been my friend? Thanks for visiting me, I have been so busy that I haven't really had time to post on my blog, but still, you visit, and I am SO thankful.
Hope all is well.

Mainline Mom said...

Sounds like Lauren is doing a really great job teaching him to be polite and so forth. :)

Erin said...

OK -- I was all choked up, thinking of my wee one who just turned one ... and then Max goes and eats snot. Owen is so totally going to eat snot. Boys are gross.

RzDrms said...

(could you love nils' daughters more?! they leave the cutest comments.)

kalki said...

Aw man, I love this post. Snot-eating and all.

Jess said...

Great post! :) I just noticed you hail from Hatboro! I grew up in Phila/MontCo and now live near Harrisburg. Thanks for the great insight - we have 15mo old twin boys, so it's only a matter of time!

Anonymous said...

Ah, like father like son! How do you think you got that hairy chest? Eating snot! When he grows up, Max will have a hairy chest just like his Dad. This read was a real CON! Lauren is not the only one who cons. Look how many blog readers you had all teary eyed, and then like Emiril, BAM with the snot thing. Guess Who?

Minta said...

I love this post. I have a nephew (to whom I'm VERY close) who is going through this same phase. He broke my heart and made me so proud last weekend playing at the mall playland without me. I miss the toddler, but I am so in awe of the little boy.

Sounds like your Max is an awesome little boy, too.

Kelly said...

As a mommy with a 2.7 year old, you had me on the verge of tears. He isn't quite there, yet, but I know it is around the corner.

I am glad you were able to make me laugh at the very end...it quelled the tears.