After Noah’s birthday invitations sat in the diaper bag for more than two weeks, I finally put them in the mail today. Mailing his invitations somehow made his approaching birthday so much more real. Turning one means he will officially leave babyhood behind; he’s graduating to toddlerhood. But, in so many ways, I feel as if baby Noah is already just a memory.
Noah loves building and playing with his Mega Blocks. He was playing with Grandma yesterday, and she asked him who built the pretty castle. He laughed, threw his hands up, and announced, “I did it!” He has been playing with this sentence for a few days, but this time, he enunciated the ending d in did; his new communication skills were clear as day. I stopped for a moment and relished his new milestone. I’m not sure where he learned this. I frequently celebrate his accomplishments with “you did it!” But, I’m not sure how he figured out to switch the pronoun to “I.”
Grandma built the castle, but Noah loves to play tricks. His whole body explodes in glee when he knows he’s playing a trick. When he doesn’t want to eat something, he slyly pretends to put it in his mouth before hiding it under him. He likes to make toys “disappear” before looking at me to see if I know where he hid the toy.
He’s a dare devil. He fearlessly dives off furniture, climbs, and navigates the equipment at gymnastics, but slides are scary, and he wants something to hold onto while he walks. He no longer physically needs my support to walk, but he needs me to give him moral support – a finger to hold, a broom, a toy truck, or anything that gives him that sense of security he still needs.
I can’t wait to see him take off, but I also miss the little baby that wanted to be held all day. He is full of energy, and he wants to explore the world all by himself. He struggles with feeling as if he needs me to walk and wanting his independence; I’m trying to savor the moments when he attaches himself to my legs, using me as a walking stick, because I know that soon, they’ll be over. But, I also look forward to cooking with a little less help.
While he was once terrified of Eric Carle books, his current favorite book is Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? He loves opening and closing the windows, and he “reads” this book several times each day. I know that one day soon, but not too soon, he will be truly reading this book to me.
He is growing up so quickly; sometimes it feels like I wake up to a whole new little boy each day. And sometimes, the little boy I put to bed seems so much more grown up than the one I woke up to that same morning.
This morning, he proudly walked into playgroup at the library today holding my hand. He toddled around like a big kid, and for the first time, no one said “watch out for the baby!” His new role confused him. While last week, other moms insisted he didn’t have to share and protected him from their big kids, today he became one of the big kids. While I’ve always insisted that he needs to share too – even if he’s the baby, today, others expected it of him too. He didn’t love the new rules; he held onto the toy vacuum like a security blanket.
Noah came home from playgroup on a mission. He needed that toy vacuum to feel safe walking at playgroup, and when he had to share, I think he lost his sense of independence. He climbed down from my lap, protesting a nap, and proudly took a few steps forward. No pinky to hold, no broom, no toy vacuum, no car. All by himself. And unlike the steps he’s accidentally taken by himself before, he knew what he did. He clapped and bounced with joy.
He’s spent the afternoon toddling around on his own, excitedly sweeping the floor as he now feels comfortable lifting the broom.
He takes brief walking breaks to stack his blocks and try his hand at some more advanced puzzles. And each time he gets a block to stay or a puzzle piece in place, he claps his hands, squeals with joy, and looks to me to share in his celebration.
Tonight, I will put a newly walking Noah to bed though just this morning, he needed my hand. And while he knows he doesn’t need my hand to walk anymore, he’ll still gladly take it, and he knows that I’ll always be right there beside him when he wants it.