Sunday, March 23, 2008

Freeze this moment

You know, there are plenty of times when my kids bicker or seem to just push each other's buttons just to add a little color to their day. In other words, they're normal siblings. But then something happens like ten minutes ago, when they were settling down to watch "The Jungle Book," the group favorite, and at the very beginning, when Tinker Bell arrives to decorate the Disney logo, Eliza squeals, "Ian! It's STINKER BELL!" and they all three break into wild chortles, and I want to scoop them all up and squeeze them. Even as adults, my four siblings and I have certain words or phrases that connect us in shared sense of humor, so that if others wonder why we yell out "Schultz!" or refer to "making matters worse," we feel drawn together. I love that mine are building that already.

Lately I've been feeling kind of nostalgic about the way they're growing up. Especially Ian, I guess, because he's changed the most. I never felt like one of those parents who wanted their kids to stay babies or toddlers forever and hated for them to grow up -- I always felt like I enjoyed them more as they grew (there are moments when I want to freeze my youngest in time, though). But it hit me the other day that although I sure don't miss the hundred-times-a-day request for Thomas the Tank Engine stories, there are aspects of my son's three-year-old self that I miss -- his exuberance about animals and nature, his general uninhibitedness. It feels like he's on the cusp of something right now -- being a 'tween,' I guess. He's developing ideas about what is "cool" and what is "not cool," he calls his friends (and sometimes us!) "dude," he loves to stay up late and play board games if we have an adult gathering to do so, he occasionally reveals closet interests in country music and Nascar racing -- ay ay ay! Not to mention, he's decided that anything vaguely romantic is completely disgusting, which means we're not allowed to kiss him anymore (the distinction among types of kisses has not been clarified in his mind). Blown kisses are still acceptable -- our compromise. :-)

But then there are the hints that despite the forces that are pushing him toward preadolescence, the tenderness of childhood is still there. He (and his sister) stills tends to eschew pajamas in favor of his daddy's T-shirts at night, and he still comes to crawl in with us if he gets up at night. And the other day I suddenly realized that he'd unconsciously grabbed my hand as we walked along and was holding it. And I couldn't have cared less about the dirty fingernails or mildly sweaty palm. I held it, and smiled to myself, and savored the moment, until he broke away in pursuit of something cool.


Jenny said...

I find myself also having these bittersweet sort of realizations that my kids are really growing up. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

So sweet. So tender. :-)


Tracee said...

Teary eyed here. Can they really be tweens so soon? Yet they are. Sniff. :(