Kids. At 2 – 3 years of age they are so changeable, so in flux while at the same time you can totally see who they are as their personalities are bursting through in everything they do.
Cooper is funny. He loves to laugh, and you can tell he loves to make other people laugh. This is a happy kid. If someone is sad, or hurt, he is very concerned. There is a level of empathy that surprises me.
And yet, every day it seems there is something new. He has new words, new skills, new interests. He is even eating new things! Yesterday I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, and he announced “cheese stick!” Until yesterday I had never seen him eat a cheese stick. I have certainly offered them to him, but to date he has declined them. Since I am all about encouraging him to eat new things if he had said HOT DOGS I would have let him have them for breakfast. And then I found out he has shared some of his friend Luc’s seaweed at school. Luc is Chinese, and his family eats some fairly traditional Chinese food. It is not surprising he would have dried seaweed as part of his lunch, but it WAS surprising to hear Cooper not only would consider holding it, but tasted and pronounced it GOOD. So I will obtain some at our grocery store and see if he really will eat it. I would be happy with that as it is a great source of iron and since Cooper still won’t eat meat, I worry about his dietary balance.
Today we had 6 of our little neighbor friends and their parents over to swim. The girls next door, who left today to move to DC, and then his buddies Liam, Ty, Fletcher and Carter. Liam and Carter are right around Cooper’s age, and the other two boys are four years old as are the girls. There is such a difference at four years of age. They are so grown up. They can mostly swim by themselves. They JUMP in the pool. They are loud and pushy and exuberant and joyful. Cooper finds them a bit overwhelming but he watches them constantly. As a result he wanted to wear swim goggles, use a kick board and jump in the pool. He is not as large and in charge with them around as he is with just kids his age. But he is observing and absorbing. He is internalizing what he sees and then later things come out seemingly randomly but he has been turning those things over and over and then finds the moment to launch his new idea or thought or behavior.
The part that scares the crap out of me, and I know this is not a new or innovative concern, is how to help him make good choices over time. To be able to discern that wanting to wear goggles and jump in the pool is fine, as long as one can actually swim or there is someone there to catch him. Or that maybe jumping in a pool is fine, but would jumping off the proverbial bridge just because everyone else is be a good idea?
I feel like right now, my son is a great little guy. He is sweet and funny and smart with just enough willfulness to keep us on our toes. He has all this potential, so many possibilities. It is exciting and daunting all at the same time.
And in the meantime I have to try to not worry that the moms in the group just saw my very dirty kitchen floor and are judging me for it. We are not all superwomen. I am the first to admit it and turn in my cape. Oh well.