When he was still a cooing, babbling infant, I waited with anticipation for the day when Spud would begin to communicate with us verbally. I couldn’t wait to know what was going on inside that little head—what were his thoughts, opinions, ideas?
He’s been stringing words together into sentences and questions for several months now, and his words do not disappoint. Declarations range from the recent favorite: “No, I don’t sink [think] so” (which is just a frustratingly endearing way of saying “NO”—complete with batting of eyelashes),
to the amusing: “Just like Sissy/Brubber [brother]” after copying their actions to a “T”,
to the confusing: the whole “I/me/we/you” conundrum that I won’t even try and replicate here.
As much as I looked forward to his language acquisition and delight in his daily discoveries of how words work, somehow I’d overlooked how his words might affect me emotionally. The “NO’s” require infinite, maddening patience (and a reflection on how often I’m saying that little word). His words said in anger or frustration sometimes shock or hurt. Words said deliberately to make us laugh, bring joy. And over the past week, I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that he’s learned that words can be used to push people’s buttons.
So it was that I was caught off guard a couple of weeks ago by some other little words spoken often in our home, but never by Spud. At least, not of his own volition. He often parroted them back to us, or said them when requested to. Maybe the idea of their meaning hadn’t completely connected in his psyche, until . . .
he stood on the edge of the bed that morning as we finished our after-breakfast routine. Clean didee, socks, and shirt on, he grabbed my shoulders to steady himself as I pulled his pants on—the last task to finish before he could bolt off to play.
Suddenly I felt his not-as-chubby-as-they-used-to-be hands slide up behind my neck, pulling my forehead down to meet his. His bright blue eyes locked with mine.
“I love you, Mama.”
My Valentine’s Day came two weeks early this year—may yours be just as full of surprise, wonder, thrill, and LOVE. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Joining the community of gratitude @ A Holy Experience on Mondays . . .
20. a complete day off to concentrate and accomplish—thank you, Cowboy
19. thoughtful surprises
18. the power of words
17. short chubby energetic legs racing laps around the living room