In the past few weeks, my kids have reached pivotal birthdays -- Ryan turned 3 and Emma is 6 months -- and the changes that came with those key celebrations are just plain adorable.
Six months. Sure, Emma is still an infant, one who eats, poops and sleeps most of her life. I'll be honest -- babies are cute and all, but damn, they are boring. There is no personality, no joy in their lives, no purpose. But now, at 6 months, the kid is pure sunshine. Her recently discovered laughter is nothing short of infectious. All you want to do is make her laugh, all day and everyday. She even knows when you try to make her laugh -- she'll laugh in anticipation of your efforts. And even if you are not funny (it happens -- babies are notoriously tough critics), Emma will shoot you one of those half-smiles that is basically saying, "Alright, I'll smile, but please, for the love of all things holy, just stop." See, that's love.
I was cleaning the house the other day and had her strapped onto my chest in the Baby Bjorn. She was a willing student, soaking up every cleaning task I was doing. Hell, she was reaching for the mop more times than I can count. She looked in amazement how much pet hair was picked up with the swiffer. She was practically salivating at the mouth. Most would say she is teething, but no, she was just aghast at how much of a mess Parker leaves behind. Five years from now, that little girl will be on Parker's ass, making sure he cleans up after himself. Yep, that would be my daughter.
And Ryan, coming out of his terrible twos and heading straight into the even-more-terrible threes, has all of a sudden turned into this adorable, heartbreaking, affectionate little man. Of course, he still has his whiny breakdowns and temper tantrums, which comes with the territory, but suddenly, he's morphed into this mushball who will give his mother a good night kiss, walk away, and then stop, turn around, and decide that he wants a hug too. How do you not melt when something like that happens?
A couple months ago, we used to say, "I love you", and he would repeat it back verbatim. It was almost like he was imitating you. But now, he personalizes his affections. I'll say, "I love you, buddy," and he'll reply with, "Daddy, I love you, too." That sound you hear is my heart breaking into pieces.
He's finally wrapping his head around the potty-training, becoming a willing participant as opposed to a stubborn toddler who collapses on the floor at the mere sound of "going potty." There's still a ways to go, but he's finally learning how to relieve himself in the toilet. Just last night, he peed as he should have for the second time that day, and he was truly and utterly thrilled. You know that look little kids have when they come across something so awesome, that so-amazing-I've-got-to-have-it-now look? His whole face transformed into a euphoric freeze-frame. "Yaaaaaaay!!! I went pee-pee in the potty!"
These are the things that make the little ones happy. It just goes to show that we adults take things for granted. Really, wouldn't it be great if we stepped away from the urinal/stall, with a grin from ear-to-ear, and exclaim with absolute glee, "Yay, I just went pee-pee!" Your co-worker at the sink would give you a funny look, but who cares? Dammit, you went pee-pee in the potty, and that. is. awesome. You deserve a treat.
I'm telling you, peeing has never been so beautiful.