I’m holding on to the little bit I have left of you being a toddler. I don’t know the exact age a child goes from a toddler to little boy but as a mother I use my judgement. I go by your growth in size, cloths and the way your developing your language and learning. I know we are on the borderline of loosing what is left of your toddler days. Maybe we already have a little boy and I’m just in denial over it. I find myself holding on to every little thing lately. You are fully potty trained, you know all of your colors, you sing the ABC’s, you can count to 12 and you are more independent than ever. I have watched your sweet face leave it’s baby stage behind and the shorter we cut your hair, the more the big boy shows in you. I thought it was tough watching you turn three last summer, but watching you slowly approach four is proving to be just as difficult. You have a strong-willed personality. It can make some days tougher than others, but the sweet side of you by far outshines those days. Your laugh is contagious. I’ve even heard strangers say when they hear your sweet voice it just makes them smile. We found a great preschool program for you to start next year. It’ll give you more structure that you need in your day and I really think the schedule will help you sit, learn and grow into who your meant to be sweet boy.
I hold on to the way you still mispronounce certain words. I smile every single time you say a word incorrectly. I don’t correct you, I smile when you bring me your plate and say “Momma I ate all of my lunch all.” That extra “all” becomes my smile, it’s my reward. Motherhood is hard sweet boy. I don’t get many moments to myself, I spend my days teaching, guiding and giving you everything that I have. That extra smile from mispronounced words gets me through some of the hardest days.
I hold on to the way you wave to me. I remember noticing it one day when I was sitting on the porch steps and you drove by on your motorized gator. You smiled wand waved. The wave that isn’t quite as clean and fresh like your big sisters, it’s more of a back and forth motion because your still little enough that you have to really concentrate on if your doing it correctly. I smile and wave back. That day it brought tears to my eyes because I know that this too will be mastered some day and it’ll just be another sign of you getting bigger. Another extra smile to get me through a day where I’m feeling the brutal blows of motherhood.
I hold on to the way you pat me on the arm or leg when your sitting next to me. When we are sitting on the couch watching a movie or if I’m typing on my laptop and your on your ipad you will randomly pat my leg or my arm. Sometimes you look up at me with those big green eyes and sometimes your doing it and you don’t even realize your doing it. I smile and say “Awh I love you too buddy.” You don’t quite know how to tell me how your feeling when your feeling so that little pat, that sweet gesture and the way my heart feels when you do gives me that extra smile a few times a day. A few extra smiles I need to see myself through the last few rough months of trying to teach you some pretty important things.
I hold on to the way that you insist that you are not a big boy. I’ve never heard of a child that doesn’t want to get bigger. Most kids rush through their days awaiting birthdays, Christmas, and last days of school. Not you my love, when I call you my big boy you insist that your still little. I smile, give you a kiss on the head and say “that’s right buddy, you are still my little boy.” From a distance I watch you become less independent. You insist on putting on your own shoes and socks, even if they are on inside out or on the wrong feet. I step back and allow you to open your own yogurt, apple sauce or snack pack. I take a deep breath and forget about how late we are running to allow you to buckle yourself up in your carseat. I smile when I think of these independent times because I too don’t want you to be a big boy yet. Smiles that just add up on days that may be filled with time outs, angry words and a whole lot of tears.
I hold on to our pajama days. You have come to appreciate the days you have at home with Momma and you’ve turned them into pajama days. Days where you will wear your pajamas all day long, even if it means playing outside with them or wearing them to the library. It makes the days that you do go to school quite hard some times but I hold on these days with you because I’m still able to go out and purchase new pajamas for you each season. I know there will come a time where going into the store and purchasing your favorite character or television show themed pajamas won’t give me those extra smiles. So for now sweet boy, have all the pajama days you want because those extra smiles every time I see you in them is exactly what I need.
I hold on to these little things because on a like today I need those extra smiles. On a day where I sent you to school in tears because I insisted on putting your shoes on, I fought with you and I buckle you up because we were running late, I made you change out of those favorite pajamas, I didn’t notice the little boy wave when I dropped you off, there were not sweet pats on my leg, and the sweet words you mispronounced were not recognized.
Momma needs those extra smiles buddy. May I always be able to find them.