When my kids went down to stay with my mom during their spring break, they all came back a little bit different. Not only is my mom and the rest of my family made of strong personalities, but my kids are like me in that they tend to take on the mannerisms of the people around them. (It only takes me about 5 minutes in West Virginia to start drawling my way through conversations with the convenience store clerk.)
H and Big J came back with a bit of drawl and a bit of sparky Chicago (where my mom is from originally). Little J, however, came back not with any discernable change in accent. Instead, he came back with the habit of repeating the last, or to his mind most important, word or phrase of whatever has just been said, sometimes prefaced with a “Yeah.”
Me: Oh, it’s SUCH a nice, sunny day outside! You should go outside and swing on the swingset, Little J.
LJ: Yeah, swing.
Me [to Brian]: Should we put some vinegar into the pulled pork? Or should we put some Dino sauce?
LJ: Yeah, Dino sauce.
Imagine Rain Man, but instead with a more confident, bright inflection. And imagine him repeating all kinds of crazy words, like “approximately” and “graduation day”–things that 3 year olds normally don’t say.
He also now says “Cool,” in response to dang near everything. He spent an afternoon last weekend “helping” the neighbor D rake pine needles out of her yard, and asked her question after question. D, being a most saintly kindergarten teacher, answered him patiently, to which Little J repeatedly responded “Cool.”
But most important, and the impetus for this post, has been Little J’s new imploring request: “I want some loves.” This is most certainly from my mom, who is always after the kids to “give her some love.” Little J learned quickly that I cannot refuse this request, no matter what I’m doing or what is happening; if he asks for some loves (“yoves”), I am going to reach down and scoop him up so he can bury his soft cheek in the space of my neck.
For the past week I’ve been on a pretty massive writing spree, working feverishly. And if Little J is home, he wanders back into the office every so often to ask for yoves. And I turn away from the machine, grab him and he sits on my lap for a spell; we’ll rock in the office chair for a moment and he’ll breathe a few sighs. Then he’ll climb down and I’ll turn back to the machine, refreshed; so far he’s not made me forget what I was in the middle of saying.
This afternoon B and I wrenched ourselves free from the office and played in the back yard with the kids. In the summer we make it a habit to go outside and play with them in the evenings–we do a lot of jumping rope and playing frisbee. Little J was intent today on playing baseball, and we bought some beginner lacrosse thingies (don’t EVEN know what they are called) to mess around with. While H and B struggled to play lacrosse-style catch, I pitched a squishy softball-sized nerf to Little J, who apparently bats left. And you know how Big J is a freakishly adept hockey player? Yeah. Little J, who is THREE, can hit a ball with a bat when it is pitched to him. Consistently. As in, it is not an accident when it happens. And he’s batting left, but he writes and colors and eats with the right.
Oh, can you say switch-hitter? Can you say watch out little league? My monster toddler, destructo boy…he’s all mellowed out and grown up…and is going to be a baseball player.
I love baseball. 🙂