Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Kids

I remember how weird it felt the first time I referred to my children as "the kids." Now, I'm ALMOST used to the plural form. And I'm PRETTY used to framing the two boys in my camera lens. I've KINDA gotten used to doing twice as much laundry. But the way they interact with each other, gets me every time.

Today after church, some women came over to coo at Ryan. Jacob, being the natural chatterbox that he is, started jabbering away about his favorite toys, his favorite TV shows, his upcoming birthday party, and what he had for breakfast. One of the women said to me, "It's so sweet how Jacob rubs his brother's leg as he talks." I thought that was a perfect example as to how Jacob has naturally taken to brotherhood. His affection for Ryan is so genuine that he shows it absentmindedly.

In the mornings, I groggily and regretfully drag Ryan and myself out of bed and walk into the living room where Jacob has already claimed his spot on the couch for morning cartoons. When Jacob sees us, his eyes light up. He bounces off the couch, charges straight for us, and exclaims in a high pitched voice, "HI RYAN! YOU'RE AWAKE. YOU'RE SO CUTE!" Forget me. I'm practically mince meat.

Jacob loves to kiss Ryan with sticky, slobbery smooches. He loves to rub his head and tickle his feet, sometimes a little too enthusiatically. He also loves to narrate everything that is happening. "Hi Ryan," he says in a sing-songy voice, "Mommy's changing your diaper. Do you like that? She wiping you with a baby wipe."

Today, when I fed Ryan bananas for the first time (which he LOVED- he fussed when I took too long between spoonfulls), Jacob insisted on helping. Ryan did so well with the spoon. Even when Jacob was practically shoving it down his throat.

(Hurry up! Give me more!)

Ryan is super tolerant and doesn't seem to mind the rough affection from Jacob. In fact, Ryan is becoming increasingly more interested in his big brother. When Jacob talks to Ryan while I'm feeding him, Ryan will turn his head away from the bottle in search of his big brother. He loves to sit, and from across the room, watch everything Jacob does. He barely bats an eyelash when Jacob sings too loudly in his ear, dangles a toy a hair's width in front of his face, or grabs his hands to play patty-cake.

(My big boy has been grabbing his toys for weeks)

Ryan already hates to miss out on everything his brother is doing. While Ryan will tolerate being on the floor for playtime, he prefers to be vertical so that he can see what Jacob is doing. Much of the day, we let him hang out in his walker (his feet don't touch so Jacob takes him for "rides"- Ryan has always had an incredibly strong neck) or in his Bumbo. The baby playmat doesn't get a ton of use anymore.

Ryan has definitelty started to recognize his name. I love how he breaks out into a wide grin when Jacob calls him and they catch each other's gaze.

Back to Jacob....I wish he would hurry up and turn 4 already. Whenever he tells people he is 3, they always look on in disbelief and I have to explain that he is ALMOST 4. Jacob's vocabulary is so impressive. The other day he asked me for a treat at the store. When I said "no," he replied, "Uhhh, I'm SO disappointed. That same day, he correctly used the following words: ridiculous, embarrassed, and frustrating. Whenever he hears a new word, he always asks me what it means. And he REMEMBERS. If anyone has any tips on explaining "shame" and "interesting" to an almost 4 year old, I'd love to hear them. Cause this is all I got:

Jacob: "Mommy, what does 'shame' mean?"
Me: "Shame is when you see someone leaving a dorm room early in the morning wearing the same clothes as the night before."

Jacob:  "Mommy, what does interesting mean?"
Me: "Interesting is what happens when Mommy takes a Vicodin with her Big Girl drink."

Today, we were in the car running errands and I was listening to news radio. Jacob was listening too, as he usually does, and asking me questions about everything he heard. "Mommy, what does 'dim' mean? Mommy, did an asteroid kill the dinosaurs, just like that guy on the radio said? Mommy, the guy said asteroids hit the earth everyday and they just burn up before they hurt people." Then we had an intelligent conversation about asteroids and planets and the dinosaurs. My mind was blown.

(My Spiderman)

Today, Jacob was really frustrating. He had so much little-boy energy to burn off and I had no energy to take him to the park. We were butting heads all day. He kept repeating all the words I said. He was doing the opposite of what I told him to do. He was hanging on me and getting underfoot and making messes everywhere he went. It wasn't until the end of the day, after I put Ryan down for bed and we sat together playing games, that it hit me. In his own little way, he was just begging for some attention, some friendship. His little devil-self instantly transformed into an angel the second I sat down to give him one-on-one time.  I immediately felt bad for all the times I told him or showed him that he was in the way.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that our kids are people, just like us. They need the same things we need: love, attention, interaction, socialization. They just don't always know how to ask for it. When I feel like I'm having a "rough" day with Jacob, I need to take a breather and focus on changing myself. Usually, he's just reacting to my attitude and lack of attention.

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