I mentioned that around the time Alex turned four, he turned over a new leaf.
He grew up, almost over night. From toddler to preschooler just like that. In the blink of an eye, he changed.
Four is, without a doubt, a lot of fun. Beyond the fact that Alex is now a true conversationalist, he’s just downright entertaining.
Of course, he’s always been entertaining. From the day he was born, I have always been able to just watch him. I mean, he’s a very small human being. He’s, like, a miniature person! So, of course he’s fascinating! Who doesn’t want to watch a baby look around the room in complete amazement as shadows form and light dashes across a wall? Who doesn’t want to watch a toddler learn that not only can he walk, but also he can run? Who can take their eyes away as a child tastes a lemon? Or giggles at an older child?
But the fascination in watching him hasn’t stopped. I guess I assumed that this watching-their-every-move thing would at least diminish, and I suppose to some extent it has; I no longer feel the need to watch him for his safety. I know he’s safe. (I still obsessively check, but I’m getting better about not doing that so much.) But I still feel the desire to watch him just be. To watch him exist in this world. To watch him as he shows me the things he has learned, the words he somehow knows, the facts about life he deduces… it’s all entertaining. No longer can we discuss something behind his back when he appears to not be paying attention. He hears everything.
“Why are you talking about me?” He’ll ask, seemingly out of the blue. We had been talking about him, but he was talking to himself and his action figure over in the corner and I just assumed he had no idea.
But he always knows. He seems to know everything.
He knows exactly what to say to end my anger, to get me to hug him, to get me to smile. He knows exactly what to say to make me apologize if I’ve been hard on him. While he generally is a pretty good sleeper these days, which we totally deserve after four years of him not sleeping through the night, there are evenings here and there when he fights bedtime. Hard.
“Mommy, I just can’t sleep.” The first words out of his mouth before his head even hits the pillow.
“Alex, you haven’t even tried.”
“No, mommy. I really can’t. I’m scared a skeleton is going to eat my body and brain.”
I’m never sure with him if he’s serious or not. In this case, I’m 99% sure he wasn’t actually concerned a skeleton was going to eat his body and his brain. Oddly enough, he has quite a good grip on reality. He knows when things are “in this life” and if he isn’t sure? He asks, and is comfortable with the response. “Monsters are not in this life. They are pretend. Dinosaurs are not in this life, but they are real. They are just aggstincted.”
He knows how to say something that means I have to respond. When he’s scared, I always respond, and he knows this. We had a conversation about, well… about zombies, basically. “They aren’t in this life?” “No, Alex. They aren’t in this life. Now put your head down, and I’ll rub your back for two minutes. I love you. Good night, my sweet boy.”
“Good night my funny and pretty Mommy.” This kid, he knows how to end my frustration with his little bedtime-prolonging-games.
It’s not just me, though.
“Daddy, can we play hockey outside?”
BAM. Bedtime paused. How can Zach say no to that?