24 October 2013

Wonder Years

Having become jaded and cynical in so many ways, it is with great surprise (and maybe something like relief) that I am finding additional capacity for wonder and amazement and joy as a parent.

When your second kid comes along, there’s already a sense of “been there, seen that” to the entire enterprise. Second children get hand-me-down clothes and previously used toys and if they were paying any attention it might give them a complex. Plus, their parents are really tired at that point.

Really tired.

It’s true, parenting can be super-annoying and frustrating and you can find yourself feeling very quickly that you are just over it. Over. It. And so it’s incredible that I’ve found I can just look at Little Brother sometimes and be amazed. He’s not just an extension of his older brother (regardless of how much he behaves as such), he’s his own being, with his own personality and identity. And he can actually capture your attention much like the first one did, yet often in entirely new and different ways. Who is this kid? you can find yourself wondering. It’s like there’s an intruder in the house.

And this has been highlighted for me several times over the last few months. For instance, when preparing for his 18-month appointment with the pediatrician and examining his level of development at this point, the wife made a list of words that he spoke. She topped out somewhere over 200. We looked up the average and it was 15. 15. Seriously, he’s smarter than we are—or could ever hope to be. When he decides to use these powers for evil instead of good and turns against us—we are screwed.

Last night, I watched him spontaneously join his mother in putting dirty laundry in the laundry basket. Like it was no big thing, just started pitching in. It was hilarious, like he’d done it a thousand times before.

You should see him obsess about Lorde. That “Royals” song is the kid’s jam and he is mesmerized by that girl whenever he sees her. And that’s nothing compared to watching him bust a move while listening to John Lennon’s “Oh Yoko!” off my Rushmore soundtrack. Seriously, this kid has moves. And we don’t, so I have no idea where they even came from. (I know you dig this tune and all, but wait until you hear what she did to your and your brother’s beloved Beatles. Apologies in advance.)

And for every moment that his natural rambunctiousness has drawn him dangerously close to mortal peril, there are other, simpler occasions when he takes my breath away for entirely different reasons. 

A few nights ago, I sneezed. And he stopped what he was doing and looked up at me from the floor and said (approximately), “Bless you.” Then smiled. I’d never heard him say it before and had no idea he even knew this phrase or when it was appropriate to use it. Naturally, I had to immediately leave the room and put some distance between me and that cherubic face lest I begin sobbing uncontrollably.

Sometimes I’d just like to get off this emotional rollercoaster. But it never even slows down enough for me to jump off, let alone come to a complete stop so I can step gracefully onto the platform.

Here’s hoping I don’t get motion sickness. Or whiplash. But that’s probably wishful thinking.

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