As J quickly (waaaay too quickly) approaches three, he is becoming more and more like a "real" person to me. Not that he hasn't always been real, but for me the first couple of years of parenting were alot of me interpreting what I thought he was thinking, or wanting, or needing. In many ways, when they're babies, you see your kid as an extension of yourself, and it takes time for you to start understanding them as their own person with their own thoughts and opinions. Time, and the development of usable language skills.
Lately I've found myself fascinated by the things J has to say. Not just the major existential type things like "We saw God at church," but the little, throw-away things. Every day he seems to pick up on more and more of everyday life, with or without my help. For instance, today in the car we ran through Starbucks and got our Mommy's Day Off Usual: a grande soy chai latte for me, and a Horizon organic chocolate milkbox for him. After awhile I noticed that J was being unusually quiet, so I turned around and saw him intently trying to peel off a little square of cellophane on the bottom of the box. "What are you doing, sweetie?" I asked. "I have to remove this piece of plastic," he replied. Okay, first of all, "remove?" And then I started thinking, How does he know that's plastic? How does he know the word 'plastic'? It's not like we say that word alot in daily conversation. I definitely didn't make any special effort to teach him the word 'plastic.'
Or how a commercial came on for a Polly Pocket or Barbie or some such nonsense toy that makes me glad I have a little boy, and after the commercial was over J said, "I don't want that, that's for girls." Really? How does he know that some toys are for boys, and some are for girls? It's not like he has a sister or has been exposed to "girly" toys (there's only one girl at his little daycare, believe it or not). I've certainly never told him that he couldn't have a toy because it was "for girls." Is it just that there were only girls in the commercial? Or does he intuitively understand that if the toy is pink/lavender/yellow with fairy wings that boys are not the intended audience?
It sounds a little crazy but these are the things that fascinate me about watching this kid grow up. His little brain is forming right before my eyes, and he absorbs everything -- the things I tell him, the things he hears/sees at daycare, the background chatter of the TV and movies we watch, things I don't even know about that are forming his view of the world. It's so cool! For nerds like me, anyway LOL.
Practice makes perfect
8 years ago