Sunday, October 29, 2017

Teaching Us to Treasure

Ian and Alec's elementary school is doing a school-wide reading program of a children's book named Frindle. As part of their ongoing interaction with the book, they recently received a half-sheet of paper on which to write their first baby/toddler words next to the "real" words they stood for. Unfortunately they alerted me to the assignment on the way out the door for school one morning. On the spur of the moment there was no way I could reach back into the recesses of my aging memory to find an answer! Alec helpfully and hopefully suggested, "Maybe we can watch some videos of us later?" I am so thankful that we do have an adorable collection of videos of Ian and Alec when they came home from Haiti, and even more thankful that we posted them to an online account before both our external hard drive and desktop computer crashed with years' worth of photographic memories back in 2012.

As I reflected on their assignment and the meager recall I have of the older five children's toddlerhoods (without photographic or video assistance!) I thought it was probably time for an update on our littlest - and likely, last - toddler Silas. Dare I say he is our most "grown up" toddler as well? While he can throw a "terrible two" tantrum like any of his contemporaries, his bevy of older brothers and sisters has certainly created a different kind of kid than we've had before!

For instance, we had a very laid-back supper the other night with his older siblings sitting around the living room with bowls of mac-n-cheese in hand. For Silas I prepared a small plate which he promptly tried to take out of my hand with a cheerful, "Thank you, Mommy!" (Or, "Dank oo, Mommy!") He firmly believed that he, too, had the right to sit and self serve with the rest of the gang - and he did not appreciate my impeding him from doing so!

Recently Pedro was away for nine days and that meant full family participation during morning drop-off for the older kids' school. (It is half an hour away and starts half an hour earlier, so usually Pedro does the honors while Ian, Alec and Silas get a little extra time to sleep in.) On many of those mornings I would roll Silas out of bed and into a warm vest while still in his sleeper pajamas, and he would contentedly ride along in the car while chattering about exciting things he saw. "Baloo, Mommy!" he exclaimed over the hot air balloons. "Bih buh!" when he saw the big yellow school buses. "Baaah!" at the water tower which seemed to him a giant ball. But what his siblings loved most was his personalized farewell for each of them ('cool meaning "school.") "Eva! 'Cool. Bye-bye! Dihdy! 'Cool. Bye-Bye. Oweh! 'Cool. Bye-bye!" Later when Daddy returned and Silas no longer went along for the ride, they missed his sweet well wishes.

Although he can say the word "plane," Silas' go-to sound for an airplane is "pfffft." Multiple times a day while Pedro was gone, Silas would ask about Daddy. "Daddy? Daddy bye-bye? Daddy p'ane. Pffft!" It was cute and sweet.

To his maternal grandparents' delight, Silas can now say "Mom-Mom" and "Pop-Pop." Sometimes he gets a little mixed up and Mom-Mom becomes "Mom-Mommy." Last week I bought him a humorous shirt that says, "Warning: I Break Things" specifically for his visits to their house! Mom-Mom has so many craft and decorative temptations that just call Silas' name. But what he really loves is her cookie collection and the water and ice feature on her refrigerator. Needless to say, he requires constant supervision on our frequent visits!

At home, Silas considers himself a full-fledged helper. His favorite pastime is sweeping, followed by putting silverware away. It doesn't really matter to him if it's clean or dirty. After a recent meal, he took his (used) fork and tossed it in the silverware drawer with great satisfaction. He also enjoys flushing toilets, a pastime we attempt to keep at a minimum!

Needless to say, life is anything but dull with our little baby caboose. Hopefully these few reflections will help us remember today's reality years down the road (like Ian and Alec's videos and blog posts do.) Time flies so fast. Thankful for one more toddler teaching us to treasure it while we can!

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