On The Name Game and Making Your Opinions Known:
I should not leave the house without my camera. There's too much to capture when I least expect it. Last night, we took Nate on his first family walk sans stroller. I thought we'd be carrying him most of the way. I seem to consistently underestimate the stamina of my children. His grin was wide, his expression proud. He walked two streets, mastering his big boy tennis shoes, until the adults led the children back to the driveway, our ears burning with cold. Audrey complained while parking her bike, asking if she could stay out and play. Nathan cried as soon as Jason set his feet onto the wooden planks of the kitchen floor. I could hear him wailing through the closed garage door.
We've had a couple similar episodes in the past two weeks. A week ago, while strolling through the grocery store, Jason pushed the cart with Nathan in tow past the milk cases. Nathan waved to the rows of cartons and screamed out as they passed.
Thursday, I took Nate with me to drop Emmy off for a grooming appointment. He laughed as I grabbed Emmy with my one free arm to get her out of the car. He watched as she walked into the building. He smiled at the girl behind the counter. The groomer came out, spoke with us a few minutes and carried Emmy through a door. I carried Nate out the other door toward our car. He became hysterical, trying to fight me and get down. I'm guessing he thought I had just given our dog away.
Nate is a man of few words: uh-oh, da-da, mama, and grunts that seem to come at the appropriate times for "thank you" and in response to "love you." But as far as getting his point across? He seems to be doing just fine.
Audrey has been letting her voice be heard in other ways this week:
Tuesday, at dinner, she told Jason, "I like when you're gone because I can talk to Mom without you interrupting." Ahem.
The following night, we were having macaroni and cheese with dinner. "We should make this sometime," she said. "Take these (pointing to the mac 'n cheese) and that (pointing to salt and pepper) and put them in water. Pour big noodles that stay big in and add cereal. Wait for a long time - two minutes." Then, she paused, looked at us and said, "This is a recipe."
But, the real topic on her mind this week is names. Tuesday she said, "the new baby, can we name her Ellie?"
I told her no, that we were having a boy and Ellie is a girl's name. I assumed she was just in denial and still hoping to exchange her coming brother for a sister until it dawned on me that she might think she's won the argument for us having a fourth child that she assumes will be a girl. I didn't ask.
Thursday, she told me she wanted to name the baby Dwight. (Perhaps they are covering Eisenhower in preschool).
Thursday afternoon as we drove home from school she said, "So, Mamaw's mother named her Mamaw?"
"No. Mamaw is just what we call her."
"Like a nickname?"
"Yes. Her mom named her Vicki."
"So she's a Mamaw whose name is Vicki?"
Luckily, she hasn't assigned names to the worms inhabiting our backyard garden. Friday she ran outside in her rain boots to play in the sunshine. She came up to the screen door a few minutes later to tell me she had caught a worm, which she planned on drowning in a cup so she could make a meal out of it for the birds. After the fourth worm, I asked her to please leave some in our garden to help with our soil this year (all the while thinking I must be the only mother making such a request). Moments later, she ran back to the screen door. Apparently, she had changed teams. Now, she was building a home for the worms (those not already in her water cup, they were still bird food) to protect them from the birds. Then, as if she was a veteran of watching R-rated movies, she said, "I told them when I picked them up, 'don't worry, I'm not going to kill you.'"
As I write, Jason is teaching Nathan to play catch with the knit balls I made him for Christmas. Audrey wings the ball underhand, her balls sailing high and deep past her brother who claps. Daily, they grow, the ways they express themselves (and the expressions, oh my the expressions) expanding. The stamina of our little ones' legs, their minds, their hearts grow faster than the adults can keep up, leaving us hoping we remember all that we can, especially to bring the camera.