Sunday, August 15, 2010

Babies, and Then, They Talk ...

I have said this before, and I will say it again: I am just never going to be done being amazed at how babies develop into toddlers and then into real humans. It’s a mystery to me how they figure everything out to become more or less integrated adults. Just fascinating how their brains work to understand the mysteries of life around them.

I know it’s just the course of nature, and life, but watching it gives me chills and humbles me.

It's almost hard to find a picture of him not smiling with his entire face. He is a happy kid.

I have not written about my nephew for a long time now, and I have kind of missed it. I think of him every single minute of every day, and I talk about him often, as I await, hungrily, for the news to come from my sister with new details of what else he did today. He’s a bit over two years old now, and as you can imagine, a handful.

He was here for my wedding this April and I could not get over the fact that he was a totally different kid than the kid I last saw just the fall before: you could communicate more with him, you could talk at him and he could actually understand you, although in April he was not able to say too many words.

A rare "serious" moment. He is fearless around animals.

And in just four months, it seems like years have passed! He is talking almost in full sentences now, and he can communicate with all adults around him, family or not, to tell them what his needs are. There are many milestones in the life of a human, and I guess discovering full sentence speech is a major one. And trust me: it should be, because it’s amazing! It’s not just that you hear full sentences where cries and whines were before, but it’s the thought behind those sentences that’s mind boggling!

On a mission: "Someone, please feed these animals NOW!"

As my sister was noticing, his “terrible two’s” crises are virtually gone now. Because instead of thumping his food and having a fit when he wants something, he communicate now, in our own language and he now asks for it by name.

It’s amazing to me that he is indeed the same kid that was just born two years ago, frail and small, and just figuring out how to breathe yet! He has come so far in seemingly no time at all, and has evolved into this “real human”, as I call them … (and, yes, I realize they are all “real humans”).

He is determined and stubborn, he is a fast learner and a helpful little hand around the kitchen. He loves to wash dishes, and help out. More than anything, he loves to talk! He truly is sprung from genes my family provided, for sure. We’re never at a loss for words. And yes, he blabs! About everything around him, and things he makes up. He is even asking his daycare lady to let him tell the story for “story time” and asking my sister the same at night – he remembers stories and wants to retell them “himself”, or invents something when he feels like it, and he has a pretty rich imagination for a two year old.

"Patrick, the Clown" - the kid has absolutely hated pacifiers since he was a day old. Has never used them, but he will pick one up to make adults laugh and get a reaction. And of course, his best friend: the ball!

He is a clown in school, performing for the rest of the class and making them laugh while standing up on a table. As it has always been the case, he also loves music. He dances and watches “ So, you think you can dance “ on TV intently. He loves sports, especially soccer and tennis, now. He watches hockey. And he is so good at them, too! He is so poised when he kicks a soccer ball! I wish I had a video of that, but some pictures are telling of how focused and agile he is when kicking a ball!

"The soccer star" - focusing on the next kick.

He prefers playing tennis with his dad to whom he announces that “mami can’t play tennis”, when my sister just attempted to play it with him. He also has a refreshing curiosity that we adults have so long ago lost! He is a venturesome eater, and whereas kids prefer pizzas and burgers and mac and cheeses, he eats everything from sausages, salmon (which is his favorite), broccoli and yogurt. As agile as he can be with a soccer ball, he is a klutz on the playground, falling and breaking skin every chance he gets! He is not a very graceful faller, either. His knees are full of scrapes and his forehead, nose and lips are usually blue, bruised or busted somehow. And yet, he picks up and tries again, of course, there are things to learn and discover yet!

Yummy broccoli! - eating all by myself!

This week he’s made a statement that as simple as it was and superbly funny, it was a milestone for us around him. He had fallen on the grounds, in the park, and hurt his backside. When my sister asked him to sit in the stroller, so she can wheel him back home for the day, he sat himself down in the “vehicle” and turned to her and said, matter-of-factly: “Push slow. My butt hurts”. So, now, he can tell us! So, now, he won’t scream for 20 minutes while adults are trying to force him into the stroller to take him home, wondering “what the heck is wrong with the kid? He’s changed! He’s fed! WHY won’t he want to go into the darn stroller! WHAT is his problem?!” …And now, he knows that pushing harder and faster makes the bumps in the road hurt his back. And he can tell us. In human words!

A new era has come, for his parents, I am sure: one where he has perfect reasons for doing or not doing things! I am sure it’s refreshing, “cracking the code” and saving the drama, but also challenging, for when he’ll start giving them fairytale reasons for not eating his veggies.

Either way, every day is a miracle, and a mystery. And we are so blessed to see it through him.

One of the pictures I have in my head when I fall asleep at night: the world is a beautiful place with Patrick's smile in it!

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