Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Our Little Dude

There's no doubt Maddox has gotten short shrift in this blog. I pretty much chronicled Roan's every move as an infant and toddler. So many family members shared with me that it helped them feel connected to us and to her, and part of our lives. Maddox, by contrast, is probably pretty much a stranger to you. I'll do what I can to paint a picture of my little boy with words.

At almost 20 months, there are some aspects to Maddox's personality that I feel have been consistent since he was in utero. He is still bubbly and full of joy so much of the time. It's not unusual for him to start giggling to himself in the backseat about goodness knows what out the window. Recently he's learned the words "fun" and "funny," and they've quickly become two of his favorites. I'm struck with a sense of wonder that a child less than 2 has a concept of humor. Almost every day he points something out that is "funny."

The other personality trait that is true to his embryonic self is that he seems to never stop moving. He jumps and wiggles and squirms and runs all within the first 3 minutes of waking up in the morning. He loves to jump on the bed, especially with Roan. One of his favorite moves is to climb up on to the back of the couch and jump down. When it goes well he catches air and says "Dat fun!" When it goes wrong, he catapults himself onto the floor and bonks his head. Thankfully that's only happened once.

One surprise to me is that he's a total bookworm. Oh, don't roll your eyes at me! While yes, it's true, Roan was read to daily from infancy, I must confess I've been by comparison rather derelict in that duty with Maddox, at least early on. Yet somehow he has acquired - whether by inheritance, by observation, or by some other means - a deep appreciation for the written word. He begs to be read to. He grabs endless stacks of books, one at a time, from the shelves, and presents them insistently. Who knows. Perhaps he'll be a line backer and a poet.

Like Roan and Logan, Maddox starting walking early at nine months. Talking has come a bit more slowly. Maybe it's because he's a boy. Or maybe it's because he can hardly get a word in edgewise with his sister. But now he's built up a good starter vocabulary. He's got about 100 words, and he can strings some together in short sentences. "Want some." "Dat funny." "I got it." He can usually get his point across, although in his own style. He still prefers to call me "Nah-nah" although he's perfectly capable of saying "Mama." His word for "blankie" remains "ba-dit." He says "peace" instead of "please." He says "alligator" pretty well, but his word for elephant is something along the lines of "oh-ga-dee."

Another difference between Roan and Maddox: this boy loves cars, trucks, trains, airplanes and motorcycles ("go gos" he calls them). Really anything that moves. He will point out "big bus!" out the window on the way to school. Heaven forbid a backhoe rolls down the street while I'm trying to hurry him into daycare (as happened this morning). He will just stand there, pointing and grunting, unmoveable. Roan was completely oblivious to such things. He also loves to play with balls. (Get your mind out of the gutter!) He's quite good at kicking a soccer ball and playing catch.

He's a real sweetheart too. He loves to hug and snuggle. He's still working on learning how to kiss. The other day I asked him for a kiss and he gave me a big old lick up one side of my face. Completely took me by surprise! When he blows kisses it sort of looks like he's eating them. But hugs he has down. After he whacks his sister upside the head or rolls over her sore toe with the stroller he just snatched from her, he's quite willing to make amends with a big hug and a "Sah-wee Woan". But then he pretty much thinks the sun rises and sets on her.

Here's another thing that hasn't changed about him since birth: when he's sad, mad or disappointed you will know about it. He has an ear piercing scream-shriek that stuns and stupefies. He can go from giggling to thermonuclear in a split second. I'm not sure if he has a short temper, or if he's just gearing up for the terrible twos. But that is the one thing I feels is my top priority to help him work on. Learning patience. Learning to take a breath. To calm down. To say it with words instead of scream it. To say "Please" instead of "MINE!!!" Given the number of times a day I repeat the same phrases ("We don't say 'Mine.' What do we say?") one might think he's a hopeless case. Good thing rationality is not a requirement for motherhood.

Despite these foibles, he is a lovely human being. And I feel privileged to share this part of his journey with him. In some ways, childhood breezes by so quickly - too quickly. But in other ways, it feels like a very slow unfolding. It takes so long before a clear picture of who this small human really is begins to come into focus. With Roan I had so many thoughts and desires about what I hoped for in a daughter. And she has surpassed each one of those. For Maddox, he is unencumbered by expectation. I never expected to have a son; I had no conception of who I hoped he would be. He is free to be himself, a complete mystery to me.

Here are some more videos.

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