My son wouldn’t go to bed. It was probably because he slept in late (I let him—it was the first Saturday we’d had as a family in a LONG time) and because he randomly put himself down for a nap during the day (huh?!). I lectured him. I threatened him with grounding. I took things away. He just wouldn’t stay in bed.
I got angry and was just about to fight him when I stopped and realized that he’s Four. And Four turns into Five awful quickly. Five turns into Seven and before you know it, Never Land is something you read about instead of something you experience. And I don’t want to let this fleeting moment go without experiencing it.
So instead of fighting, I told him to grab a bowl. He didn’t miss a beat, pulled up a chair, grabbed some lemonade, and we ate Fire Chips together (Doritos—don’t judge me about the red dye, this is rare).
He showed me his muscles. “Mom, feel them!” He explained how these muscles punch the monsters so they aren’t a problem. “Pow!”
I learned that he wants to “be a giant, like a T-Rex” when he grows up and I watched his face grow disbelief when I told him there would be dinosaurs in Heaven.
He slapped his forehead and grumbled when “the little girl upstairs is crying!” (who is actually Eight, and I’m sure nearly a grown up in his mind). And even though he has no idea who Macaulay Culkin is, he did the Home Alone face when he realized there are TWO Cheerios boxes sitting on top of the fridge. Those are his favorite. Well, not really, but I don’t buy his “favorite” ones, the horrible mother that I am.
We never sit, just the two of us. And never with silence around us. The stillness of the moment gave him the opportunity to explore the stack of old fashioned paper straws that were on the table. I had grumbled through picking them up off of his floor an hour earlier. They’re school manipulatives and are supposed to be helping him learn to count, not to be strewn around, bent, and left to Little Boy ways. But now, he told me to watch because when he spun them, “they go up and down.” Something he would have never learned if he simply used them for counting. He intentionally dropped two on the floor and told me he’s sorry, only to then meet me with a handsome grin when I immediately picked up my own and promptly dropped it on the floor, too.
We talked about art projects he and his older sister had done. He wanted to know if I’d picked his up off the floor where he had left it. Of course, I had. These things are precious to me. And tonight, I got to take time to show that the child who had made that piece of art is precious to me, too.
Thank you, Timmy, for the honor of being your Mommy.
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