Saturday, October 22, 2011

Signs of Growing Up

Everyday my Nicholas is becoming more of a little boy and less of a toddler. Soon I won't even be able to blame anything on the fact that "he is only two." Here are some recent signs I've noticed that my baby is growing up:

1. Creative Play. Nick has all-out conversations with all of his toys, and he role-plays things that have happened using his cars. The other day he had his cars all go to lap sit at the library, and he admonished them for running around and being "too loud cars."

2. Counting. Nick is starting to understand the concept, and though he can only count with one to one correspondence on a hit or miss basis, he's been getting more hits than misses lately. Point in case: Friday evening he says to me, "Mommy, I want raspberries. Put them in the purple bowl. One, two, three, four, five raspberries in my bowl." Then, he counted them to make sure I wasn't cheating him on the raspberries. Maybe it was just coincidence that he counted them correctly, but I was excited. I can't help it--I'm an elementary school teacher.

3. Coordination. Nick is starting to be able to put on and take off his clothing and shoes, to a point. I have to confess that I have spent very little time on this. Our babysitter is a stickler for teaching things step-by-step, and I admire her ability to patiently explain every step of putting on a sock, and then wait and talk through his impatience. It takes Nick forever to do this, but I love that he is learning how.

4. Letter recognition. On my way back from Iowa a few weeks ago, Nick started identifying letters on street signs. He also knows many stores simply by their signs, though I'm sure the distinctive color and shape of the signs have more to do with it than actual reading skills.  "Mommy, look! T is for Target. Are we going to go in there and go shopping? The "t" says "t" and T is for Toni!" (This is from Monday, I believe.)

5. Storytelling. Nick has started retelling lots of the books we read him, and he even memorizes some of the words. We let him take books to bed with him, and even though it's pretty dark in there, one night this week I could hear him quoting from this book he loves, "Edna." It's part of a poem (Recuerda, by Edna St. Vincent Milay), and he loves the way this poem sounds. Nick likes the line, "We were very tired. We were very merry. We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry."

6. Stinky feet. This is definitely a little boy sign. You know how babies and even toddlers always have that cute little kid smell? Nick is no longer one of them. Except for right after his bath, Nick smells like an amalgamation of crayons, dirt, kid sweat, and fresh air. It's not actually a bad smell, but it shows that he's not a baby anymore.

7. My son is a backseat driver. He's always telling me that the light is red and it is not my turn. Then he tells me that the light is green so I should go. Pretty soon he'll be commenting on my following distance or the no-turn-on-red sign. Perhaps.

While I'm often frustrated with his behavior (you'll notice I have consistently avoided the entire topic of potty training), I am usually pleased with his growth. I'm a little wistful that his baby years are mostly behind him, but it is so nice to have actual conversations with him. I'm torn between feelings of pride and regret. Regardless, I think Nick, sometime recently, has crossed the line and is officially a little boy, even if he won't be three for another month.

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