One of the things I don’t like about myself is how far ahead I get. There are advantages, of course. I usually plan in sufficient time. I am seldom taken unawares by the next step. But in children and summer, you give up a lot by pushing to be further along than you need to be. So I pause and take seriously this feeling in the air, to make sure it is not just because I am pushing.
But no. I came back from Istanbul, the heat of summer in the Mediterranean, to discover one flamboyantly yellow birch on my commute home. It has since been joined by several maples in scarlet on quiet roads. Being that it’s mid-August, I suspect drought has advanced the season, and not just my perspective. But still. The days are hot and humid, but shorter. Night arrives earlier, and lacks the sultriness of July. A tell-tale crispness creeps over the window panes in the early morning hours. We are, by no means, into autumn, but we can see it on the horizon.
As for the other season? I am passing out of the baby time of life. I nursed a child for the last time nearly a year ago. One dark night when I laid Thane into his crib… that was the last night. And tomorrow? Tomorrow they are bringing my baby a bed, with no sides. He will lie unrestrained and tiny on rocket-ship sheets with a blanket and a pillow — faithful Puppy still firmly at hand, golden curls pressed against the unfamiliar mattress.
And it’s not just the bed. It’s been a while since I’ve given you a proper Thane update, but oh! What a big boy he is. At the farmshare pickup after Istanbul, I ran into a friend from church. “It was fun to see your family all in tie-dye,” she said, “But who was the curly-headed kid? And did you bring Thane with you?” She wasn’t being sarcastic, or joking. She literally didn’t recognize my Thane. He does so many big boy things. He climbs, jumps and runs. He’s very good at puzzles. He sits and reads books. He organizes his cars by colors and carries them throughout the house, lining them up. He speaks in full sentences now: “I found it!” “Car mine!” “Yummy pancakes” “Cereal and milk, please” “No, thank you”. He even comes up with new sentences. For example, the other day in the car when I started in on the “ABC” song, he said, “No! Daddy ABC!”
He can recite his numbers to ten. He sings about 90% of the ABC song. He knows “Ring Around the Rosy” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and sings them to himself. He tells knock knock jokes (endlessly!) at dinner. He can correctly identify all the basic colors.
He eats cereal in a bowl with milk. He snitches his father’s ice tea. He climbs into his high chair and car seat for himself. He follows instructions (when he chooses to). He will come lay his head on your knee and say “Nuggle”. He has two kinds of kisses: real kisses and “all tongue” kisses, and thinks it’s hilarious when he can give you one of the latter. Whenever he sees a cell phone, he demands to speak to “Gamma! Gamma! Gamma!” He can correctly identify our two cats by name.
He pours sand on himself first thing when he gets to a sandbox. I’ve brought him home and put him on the changing table, and had rivers of sand fall out of his pockets. He can tell you when he wants a new diaper. I’ve started him sitting on his potty chair, to begin that years-long process.
In a word, he’s not a baby anymore. He’s a toddler, a child, a boy, a curly-haired blue-eyed delight… many things, but not a baby. That season has passed.