Parenting H

“Can you please give the nipple some space, M love?” my sister asks her toddler. 

She is carrying him, and they are walking a handful of steps behind me and H on the side of the road. Our own mother is walking between us.

“Like some milk!” H shouts.

“It doesn’t take much, does it?” our mother laughs.

No, it really doesn’t take much at all.

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H made mud today. His ingredients were brown sugar and water. I was unaware of the project until he requested more water, and all there was to do, at that point, was to laugh and grant his wish.

How do you explain something sad to an 18 month old that you yourself at 40 do not even understand? You don’t know, and so you tell him the only thing that makes sense, the thing that you have told him since the very beginning.

I’m right here. I’m with you. We’re in this together. I won’t ever leave you.

One of my favorite things to do is lie in bed awhile after H has fallen asleep and listen to him breathe.

We visited the beach today. Our ocean was tap water in a blue Rubbermaid bin, and our sand was a mixture of olive oil and flour. We had a blast.

H squirrels things.

The magnets and the spoons go under the refrigerator. The measuring cups go under the stove. The rocks go in the shoes. The magnetic wheels and the dirty socks go in the recycling bin. The thin rod from the cone sorting toy goes underneath the closet door. The cylinder block goes in the box of towels to donate to the vet. The red T and the green H go between the stereo and the television. The wooden baby comb goes in the wine storage box. The rocks and the sticks go in my mouth. Everything goes in the car seat.

One magnetic wheel is still missing. What a delight it will be to open a door or drawer someday and discover where H has squirreled it away.

H got some B. blocks for his birthday. They came with a book of quotes from children ages 5 and under. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but this one is a top contender: “But Daddy’s a big boy, and HE doesn’t sleep alone!” Luke, 5

There’s also: “You know what? Not all dreams come true. But that’s okay because you can always make new dreams.” Katie, 4

So wise, those littles.

An hour and a half into bedtime last tonight H sat up in bed and started clapping. (He had clapped for the first time earlier in the afternoon with T while I was in another room.) My heart swelled as we clapped together. Then I scooped him up, snuggled him close, and told him I loved him. He gave me two open mouth baby kisses.

H makes ordinary moments like these feel extraordinary. He is a gift.

Sometime during hour one of bedtime, H crawled into his crib, sat down, swung his left arm vigorously back and forth, and laughed hysterically. I do not know what was so funny, but I laughed, too. It was adorable.

H is so small and the world is so big. What a gift that he has chosen me to be his anchor, if only for the time being.