One of the nice things about doing NaBloPoMo these last three years is that for one month it gets me writing more about Carter's everyday life. I often think about things he's doing that I want to post, but by the time I get around to making a post, it's all about the pictures and some big thing we did. It's not often about the little stuff, the stuff I think I will want to look back and remember.
I want to remember the way that Carter says his name: "My name is Carter Logan Smith!" And that he knows Doug's name, but when asked my name just says "Christian" -- he can't seem to remember the Jennifer part -- and then insists that my name is "Mommy"!
I want to remember the way Carter sings songs about what he's doing at that moment, often to familiar tunes.
I want to remember the way he has no qualms about eating food he's dropped on the ground. He will even lick melted popsicle off of the sidewalk. Tonight he dropped a forkful of mac & cheese in the dirt while we were eating out, and actually tried to brush the dirt off!
I want to remember this current obsession with the Talking Tom app on the iphone, and how he uses that app to make music, among other things. He also uses it to initiate games with us, and it's a lot of fun.
I want to remember the way he can seem so big and tall and lanky one moment, and then small and cuddly the next.
I want to remember the way he is currently so interested in directing us when we play with him, and how upset he gets when we don't follow his instructions on where to sit or what to do. He has very clear ideas about how he wants games to be played, and sometimes it takes a while to figure out his rules!
I want to remember that I learned that when he's in the midst of a meltdown about something - anything - that sitting quietly with him while he screams and cries, and telling him that I understand that he is upset, is the best thing to do. And then I ask him if he needs a hug, and he always sobs "Yes" and crawls into my arms, and I hold him tight and he cries a little more before finally calming down. No matter what he was upset about, no matter how much he raged and screamed and flailed, it always ends with a hug -- and I cannot help but think this is setting us up well for the future.
I want to remember that he is walking that line between baby and child, and he's always leaning one way or the other. He needs to be constantly reassured that we realize this, and that it's okay if he speaks in complete sentences one day and whimpers and points the next, or if he suddenly wants to be carried down the stairs after refusing to hold my hand on the way down for the week prior.
I want to remember this little face looking up at me with such love, those little arms thrown around my neck, giving me huge hugs and planting kisses on my face.
I want to remember how I burst into tears a few days ago at the thought of letting go of the Moby wrap I flew him home to Texas in, and that I wore him in for the first year of his life. And so even though I sold or gave away a lot of his baby stuff in the last week, I still have that Moby wrap. And the boppy pillow I used in the NICU. And I know I'll never use either of them again.
I want to remember this little boy climbing over my laptop to snuggle in my lap and read his favorite books, and how I put the laptop aside and got even further behind on work, with absolutely no regrets.
I want to remember how much he loves our telling of "The Story of Our Day" every night as we lay in bed, just before he goes to sleep. And the way he will interject things I forgot or didn't emphasize enough, so that it becomes a truly shared story. Tonight he had to add that the mixer was very loud and scary this morning -- I was whipping egg whites for our waffles, and I'd forgotten that it upset him, but he hadn't!
I want to remember the way he climbs into my lap and says, "I love you, Mama."
And today, I want to remember the way he climbed out of bed at the end of our bedtime routine, saying he wasn't sleepy and wanted to go play, to find Daddy, and how I decided to trust him on this one -- it happens so rarely. And sure enough, he played happily for another hour, then crawled into my arms, asked to nurse, and fell asleep. The times he falls asleep in my arms are so rare now, and I cherish every one of them. I know there are only a finite number of them left, after all.
Oh, this is all so bittersweet, isn't it?