Wow, how did that happen?
One month from yesterday, big brother will turn 5. FIVE. FIIIIIVEEE. Holy goodness. It’s funny looking back – when he turned one, it was cute and adorable, and a celebration of fewer sleepless nights, more interaction, and the toddler years to come. When he turned two, it was a fun party, still mostly for the adults, but he actually enjoyed ripping paper off of toys. Turning 3 he started to get it – he knew he’d get cake, and that birthdays were fun. Four was his first “real” party – he looked forward to it for weeks, actually blew out his own candles, and fully enjoyed himself.
But 5??? 5 makes me realize he’s not a baby anymore. He’s a kid. A big kid. I mean, he’ll be in school here in just a few short months. And he asks profound questions (ranging from the simplistic “why” with a deeper meaning than just waiting for mommy to say “because” to full out requests for the mechanics of a given object or the biological/chemical process behind something – just not in such terms). He is smart (too smart), funny (or at least he thinks he’s funny), emotional (sometimes to a fault, but also has an abundance of love and care and empathy), kind (or at least not intentionally mean), and has fully developed his own personality. He doesn’t do things for the sake of being like mommy anymore. How did this happen?!?! We joke about where my baby boy went, and then joke that Aiden ate him.
And on top of that, I have three 19 month olds in the house. 18 months didn’t seem like a big deal. Sure, they could walk, and they started saying things. And they definitely had opinions (with the shaking of the head as “no” being their favorite). But they were cute and tiny back then. You know. 30 days ago. But now? You do something or say something and can see the look on their face while they contemplate whether or not they like that idea. They look at you and laugh. Jacen will drag a pot or pan down the hall and hide in the room, peaking out to see if you caught him. Jaina will run away from you laughing (cute in the yard, not so much in a parking lot). Valerie will run up for a hug and after 40 milliseconds then squirm and throw a fit until you put her down. They gauge reactions. They plan their temper tantrums. I can almost read their thoughts:
“If I throw myself on the ground, right here, will I hit anything? Are there sharp toys in the way? Yes, yes there are. SO Now I’m going to turn 20 degrees to the right and then do it. *throws self on floor* Hmm, is she looking? *stops crying and looks up to gauge reaction* No?? Why in the world is she not taking pity on me?!”
They sometimes team up. Sometimes gang up. Sometimes play separately. Sometimes want nothing to do with each other. Other times throw a fit if one isn’t where they’re supposed to be. They talk to each other, play with their brother, run from their brother. They’ve got this “toddler” thing figured out. Lord help me when they realize what the terrible twos are and how to most efficiently use it to their advantage.