Saturday, August 15, 2009

Watching Who He Is Becoming

Cooper at a sprinkler park last weekend.

Kids. At 2 - 3 years of age they are so changeable, so in flux while at the same time you can totally see who they are as their personalities are bursting through in everything they do.

Cooper is funny. He loves to laugh, and you can tell he loves to make other people laugh. This is a happy kid. If someone is sad, or hurt, he is very concerned. There is a level of empathy that surprises me.

And yet, every day it seems there is something new. He has new words, new skills, new interests. He is even eating new things! Yesterday I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, and he announced "cheese stick!" Until yesterday I had never seen him eat a cheese stick. I have certainly offered them to him, but to date he has declined them. Since I am all about encouraging him to eat new things if he had said HOT DOGS I would have let him have them for breakfast. And then I found out he has shared some of his friend Luc's seaweed at school. Luc is Chinese, and his family eats some fairly traditional Chinese food. It is not surprising he would have dried seaweed as part of his lunch, but it WAS surprising to hear Cooper not only would consider holding it, but tasted and pronounced it GOOD. So I will obtain some at our grocery store and see if he really will eat it. I would be happy with that as it is a great source of iron and since Cooper still won't eat meat, I worry about his dietary balance.

Today we had 6 of our little neighbor friends and their parents over to swim. The girls next door, who left today to move to DC, and then his buddies Liam, Ty, Fletcher and Carter. Liam and Carter are right around Cooper's age, and the other two boys are four years old as are the girls. There is such a difference at four years of age. They are so grown up. They can mostly swim by themselves. They JUMP in the pool. They are loud and pushy and exuberant and joyful. Cooper finds them a bit overwhelming but he watches them constantly. As a result he wanted to wear swim goggles, use a kick board and jump in the pool. He is not as large and in charge with them around as he is with just kids his age. But he is observing and absorbing. He is internalizing what he sees and then later things come out seemingly randomly but he has been turning those things over and over and then finds the moment to launch his new idea or thought or behavior.

The part that scares the crap out of me, and I know this is not a new or innovative concern, is how to help him make good choices over time. To be able to discern that wanting to wear goggles and jump in the pool is fine, as long as one can actually swim or there is someone there to catch him. Or that maybe jumping in a pool is fine, but would jumping off the proverbial bridge just because everyone else is be a good idea?

I feel like right now, my son is a great little guy. He is sweet and funny and smart with just enough willfulness to keep us on our toes. He has all this potential, so many possibilities. It is exciting and daunting all at the same time.

And in the meantime I have to try to not worry that the moms in the group just saw my very dirty kitchen floor and are judging me for it. We are not all superwomen. I am the first to admit it and turn in my cape. Oh well.


witchypoo said...

No kitchen judging! Was Cooper eating dulse? That's a type of seaweed we grow hereabouts, very nutritious.

Chip said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of parenting... yeah, who are these people I am trying to raise? Have I made a total botch of it? How did I get here? This is not my beautiful house... oh, wait, song lyrics seeping in.

My boy is within 3 inches of my height, his feet are the same size as mine... how'd he become this proto-adult?

The girl is probably as tall as she's gonna get... 5'1" I think. But more and more a young woman, not a teenage girl...

I spend a lot of time wondering about times when I fought fights and think would I have had them now?

I dunno. Just soak it in. Relish this moment and the next, and then he'll become who he is suddenly, when you weren't watching.

Oz said...

I doubt they even noticed the kitchen floor.

I think peer pressure is the way to go to get kids to eat new and different foods. Whenever Axel sees another kid, especially one who is much older (like 6 months or a year) eating something, he has to try it. Too bad the peer pressure thing ends up being used for evil down the road...

Chip said...

We only notice peer pressure when it is used for things we don't like.