Thursday, February 26, 2015

Been a while since our youngest was this old

Looking at the trusty calendar, I note that we are a mere two weeks and six days from the bino’s second birthday. Two years old! At that age he will barely even qualify as a baby-in-name-only anymore. He’s basically talking now, or at least stringing together multiple words in meaningful ways, interspersed with some gestures and grunts, sure, but the balance tips further and further towards the intelligibly verbal every day. He desperately wants to be one of the big kids like his brother and sister and follows them everywhere and mimics their actions, from jumping on (or swan-diving off) the couch to helping himself to anything he wants even if its up on a high counter. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that my wife and I sometimes refer to him as “ the golden gorilla”, but man, that kid has some long arms.

(Speaking of random names and inside jokes, another new development is my wife and I referring to the kids as “Pazuzu” or “Manny” based on our recently inculcated fandom of the show Constantine. If anyone were to ask us to clarify, we could truthfully explain that Pazuzu is a devil and Manny is an angel, at which point a question like “So were the kids Pazuzu or Manny today?” makes perfect sense. But of course if you really do watch Constantine you realize that in the context of the show Pazuzu is a malevolent archfiend of Hell and Manny is not evil but is still kind of a jerk.

I’d feel worse if I weren’t fairly sure that the jerk-to-demonic-tormentor spectrum is one most parents are familiar with.)

Right, so, the bino is almost two. On the day he was born, the little girl was three weeks and four days shy of her own second birthday, which means by the time she was twenty days away from two, she wasn’t our youngest anymore. The little guy was still an oldest-youngest-only when he turned two (and in fact for another seven months plus a week or so after that) but still, that was way back in 2010(!?!?!) and even then, we knew by then that his sister would be born the following spring, even if we hadn’t told the world yet. So the whole “our youngest is two” thing is so old it’s new again, and “our youngest is two and we’re absolutely positively never having any more” is completely uncharted territory.

Which is not to say that arriving there is an unwelcome development. I’d like to think that we are actively, intentionally working on raising our children to be self-sufficient, independent, fully realized and all that yadda yadda, basically the opposite of infantilizing them and loudly proclaiming the heartbreak of seeing them grow up. I want them to fledge! Babies are wonderful, but at the same time, they are hard, and I am not going to resist the flow of time when it takes me from “hard” to “maybe a little less crushingly exhausting”. I know it’s not like flipping a switch, where we’ll wake up one day and all three kids will be motivated little go-getters who can take care of themselves and are happy to go out into the world and reflect glories back upon their mother and father. But I’ll take what breaks I can get.

Right now I’m most excited about flipping around the bino’s carseat once he turns two and no longer has to be a backwards-facing rider. In his mother’s car, he has the middle bench all to himself and his brother and sister sit behind him, but in my car it’s three across the back seat of the sedan. So in addition to being all folded up and cramped, it’s entirely too easy (and apparently too tempting) for him to just boot his sister in the head as she sits beside him. He’s got his brother on the other side, too, and I really don’t know why his sister takes the brunt of the savage gorilla-kicking, other than maybe the bino is right-handed and thus right-footed. Whatever the reasons, in a mere matter of weeks the point will be moot, and the rides home from daycare should be a little more peaceful.

And then we can start the countdown to the inevitable purchase of a family minivan.

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