When Jayce was about 10 weeks old, I went to meet up with a few friends for coffee. It was the first time they had ever met Jayce and they oooo’d and ahhhh’d appropriately over him. As we were discussing parenthood, (one of them had a 4 year old), I told them about how Chris and I had been recently discussing how this age, 10 weeks, was our favorite, and we didn’t want Jayce to get any bigger than this because this age was so fun.
It’s funny for me to remember that conversation now, with a 20 month old, and try to recall what Jayce was doing then that was so much fun. I think it mostly had to do with how he was interacting with us so much more than he had been previously: smiling, cooing a lot, doing that sweet baby jabbering and still being a happy little snuggler. It didn’t hurt that he was a really easy baby in the first place, and we were probably just starting to feel confident in ourselves as parents.
Anyway, I remember making this comment and then looking up at them with pleading eyes, in that “please comment on my comment” sort of way that you do to lure people into a conversation. My one friend smiled and reassured me that I had a lot of fun ahead of me. I don’t remember everything that she said, but I do remember her saying that she had had a similar conversation with an older friend of hers, who said that the feeling of “this is the best time,” had continued throughout all of their children’s lives. That even when their children reached the middle school age, they found the awkward and geekyness of that stage to be just as charming and fun as first words and first steps had been. This was really comforting to me for some reason, acknowledging that though the fun of that stage wouldn’t last, there was a different type of fun ahead.
Now that Jayce is startlingly closer to 2 than 1, I can truly say that he is a blast and this is my favorite age. :) Though I didn’t mind the baby phase that some people are dying to get through, I can acknowledge that it certainly is a perk for him to be mobile enough to walk himself into the kitchen to eat, get up the stairs himself for bath time, or (while holding my hand of course) walk with me instead of be carried by me in public.
Some of his fun little nuances I know are common of kids this age, such as how much he likes to help. He helps me load the washing machine even though it is over his head to do so. I give him the lighter items of clothing, he throws them up, and they go in about 75% of the time. The other 25% they fall back down and hit him in the face, but he tries again until they go in. His favorite laundry duty is throwing the wet clothes into the dryer, and he grunts with each item that he throws, even a single sock, because that is what I did when I first showed him what to do. When the clothes are dry he pulls them out, often hitting his head as he reaches to get the ones in the back, but that doesn’t slow him down. If the clothes are still warm, he stops to blow on them, because this is what you do with stuff that is warm, obviously. He then pushes the full basket down the hall to the living room where I fold it, though he often succumbs to temptation and pulls the nearest folded pile onto the floor. But I think that having “help” in 4 out of 5 steps is a success, right?
There is no way that the dishwasher will be unloaded without him. In fact, this activity elicits the same type of excitement as chocolate, so this boy needs to get his priorities straight! Chris grabs the sharp knives first, but then Jayce will quickly pull out each item, handing them to Chris urgently and occasionally laying them on the floor if Chris isn’t quick enough. When he pulls out a butter knife he will tell us a quick “no” as he hands it over. He also unpacks the grocery bags, helps take the trash out to the garage, and gets the little vacuum cleaner whenever he spots a bug or a speck of something and sweeps it up.
In addition to cleaning, he likes to take on little projects. As I type this I am watching him unpack a drawer in the kitchen for the 4th time. It is full of only hot pad holders, tongs and some trivets. He pulls out 2 items at a time, one in each hand, from the right side of the drawer only. He then runs over to the left side of the kitchen, puts each thing in it’s own spot on the floor, and then runs back to the right side of the drawer for some more. Once it is all unpacked, he uses the same strategy to re-pack the drawer.
He is not talking a lot, something that Chris and I become occasionally concerned about. He does lots of animals noises though, and I wonder if we should have spent more time having him say dog, than prompting him with what does a dog say? That said, his sounds are cat, dog, monkey, snake, elephant, lion, cow, owl, fish, chicken, bird, horse, car and train. His only real words are da da, ball, go, go go (go Cards), ba ball, chocolate, cookie, cracker, no, yeah, whoah, wow, and uh oh. Also, there is ga, which is all-encompassing. I am ga some days, grandparents are ga, he yells “ga” down the basement when he comes and before he leaves (to hear the echo). He is adding to this every week though, so I really should stop worrying. Oh well.
I think that the option of cooperation makes this age kind of fun too. You just never know what you are going to get. Some days when his dad comes home, he will happily put on a show of all of his tricks for him, but some days he is just a little too wound up to participate in “show dad how old you are.” I think it will really lose something when he always responds to every prompt. Or maybe that never happens.
He still does sign language for more, please, all done and thank you. The week that we taught him thank you (taking your hand from your chin down) his grandma taught him to blow a kiss, so they’ve been rolled into one. Any “thank you” includes a “muaaahhh” blown kiss. Actually, Jayce initiated a family kiss last month, the sort of thing that I would have been a little embarrassed to teach him, but since he came up with it on his own, I will gladly participate in. Any time that Jayce sees Chris and I kiss, he will run over and demand to be picked up, wrap one arm around each of our necks, push our heads together and then lean in, so that we all kiss at the same time. This is accompanied by a big cheesy grin and of course, muuuaahhhhh.
This is not to say that things are perfect around here, because we are certainly seeing our share of tantrums. Also, these “projects” that he’s into, aren’t all helpful. It’s helpful when he unpacks groceries, but not when he swiftly unpacks a purse or diaper bag. As fun as it is to unpack the kitchen drawer, it is much more fun to unpack a bathroom drawer, and he has his pick of drawers since none of those are baby proofed. The contents of a bathroom drawer are so much more interesting anyway, because once the drawer is unpacked there are additional containers to be unpacked: band aids or medicines boxes, cotton swabs, toilet paper, etc. I am always with him in the bathroom, but sometimes I just let him have his way with the drawer if it is the best way to keep him entertained while I’m trying to get myself ready to leave the house. Plus, the band aids make him so happy that I just let him play. The medicine, not so much.
I guess I just want to make a little note to remember these things by. 2 will be here soon enough, and when I am declaring that it is my new favorite age I want to remember what was so great about 20 months.