Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Stopping to smell the roses

As so often happens when I carefully lay out my plans, something unexpected has thrown them into disarray. Although I can't go into details right now, the result is that the time I can devote to studying and working on my paper have been cut. I was already stressed about getting everything done on time, so has just wound me a little tighter. And so yesterday afternoon and evening, I was much less patient and relaxed with my son than I normally am.

Once he was in bed and asleep in only 10 minutes (proof that he too was worn out from events that included messing with his nap), I scolded myself. Deep breath. Time to focus on his endearing qualities, to remember how wonderful he is and how much joy he brings me in all the little ways.

And so, I consider our morning and how it embodied so many of the things I love in him:
  • His cuddles. As he does most mornings, he came to my side of the bed a little before my alarm would go off. I lifted him into bed, and he snuggled into me for a while. He likes to trace the contours of my ear (and my wife's nose) with his fingers; it usually drives me nuts, but I just cuddled some more this morning.
  • He's stubborn and persistent. Once he decides it's time to wake up, he announces this and then insists that I get out of bed. If I don't immediately stir, he peels the covers off of me, starting at my arms and working down until my feet are uncovered. He then grabs my hand and pulls, uttering encouragement the whole time. But he will not stop until I am vertical.
  • His desire to help. He had pooped in his overnight diaper. After he had been thoroughly wiped, I went to get his clothes for the day. When I came back, he had emptied the contents of his diaper into the potty since I hadn't gotten around to it yet. Sure, I needed to clean a little around the seat as a result, but he was taking the initiative to help out.
  • He enjoys singing. He watched a "Mighty Machines" DVD as we got ready. He sang along to the song in the middle of one of the episodes. He doesn't quite know all of the words and is never quite on key, but oh how it makes my day to hear that.
  • His sense of humor. This morning, it was physical humor. Just as I was about to put his shoes on, he slipped away from me and darted down the hallway. I did the usual, "Oh no, where did he go? I can't find him!" thing, and he came running back, giggling the whole way. Repeat. Get shoes on, and take off again. Pretend he'll give me the kiss I requested and pull away at the last second. Laugh at my pout. Finally give in and throw himself into a big hug.
  • His desire for precision. Last step before heading to school is the sunscreen. He doesn't particularly like it (neither do I, it's the feel). I tell him he needs his lotion, honestly not trying to trick him. He looks at it and announces, "That's not lotion, that's sunscreen."
  • His amazing memory. As I put the sunscreen on him, he says, "It's like an umbrella." I realize that this must be something he heard at school. All it takes is hearing something once and he stores it away. It can be a liability at times (if we promise him ice cream when we get home, even if it's hours before we return, he reminds us as soon as we're in the door), but I love how he soaks everything up and then is able to recall it at the appropriate time.
And now I must hit the books again and cram in as much as I can so that I will be able to properly enjoy him again this evening.

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