I don’t always notice, but they are growing up fast

One night last week I had one of those out-of-body experiences. Nothing crazy or anything. I was sitting in the living room playing with the boys. They were bouncing all over the place and for a few minutes I felt like I was looking in on them from somewhere else.

I can’t call Maximus a toddler anymore, because a toddler doesn’t remind you that we need more peanut butter from the grocery store. A preschooler walks into the room, rests his arm on the side of the couch, looks up at the tv, and then asks you a question. I can’t remember what the question was because I was watching him so intently. I was watching his dirty hands meet with the milky skin on his face. I was watching his eyes take in everything and watching his brain churn. He talks a lot, from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep. He asks us if things are funny or silly. He laughs when he farts or when a phone is on vibrate. He wrestles with Quinten and lies on him and tries to pinch him. Regardless of how many times we tell him not to do that, he always does. Hours later, when you think he hasn’t listened to a word you’ve said all day, he uses those words against you. He’s trying to grasp time, asking how much longer things will take and if it’s 20 o’clock. Ironically, 20 o’clock is bedtime, which has come in handy. Ten minutes is also a good length to tell him is left on anything. He doesn’t think it’s a long time and he knows it isn’t immediate. He asks us if we are busy, because he knows if we are then he is going to have to wait a few more minutes. He does all these amazing, grown-up things and then two minutes later he is a hot mess of whining, crying, and flailing all over the floor. All of a sudden he can’t go to the bathroom by himself, he can’t put his shoes on, he can’t find his coat and has no idea how to put it on, and he can’t get himself water. He’s independent one minute and as independent as a rock the next. He’s not a toddler anymore, he’s a preschooler who isn’t in preschool.

I know I’ll call Quinten a baby for a long time. {Maybe the rest of his life! :)} At the same time that I realized that Maximus wasn’t a toddler anymore, I also realized that Quinten looks a lot older. Not just physically bigger, but older. He’s starting to get hair, which makes him look different. He stands up all the time and walks along things. He plays with toys, putting them into things repeatedly. He vrooms cars and bangs on drums. He shovels handfuls of food into his mouth, drinks out of a sippy cup, and takes his bib off. He’s starting to use sign language and tell us when he wants more. He has the slightest hint of waving bye and grins like a fool when you cheer for him or just talk to him. He had two weeks away from daycare over the holidays and greeted his baby friend with a big ol’ toothy grin. He throws his head down on the floor when he’s mad. He gets up on one knee {like he’s proposing} and raises his hands up in the air when he wants lifted up. He does it silently so we often turn around and are surprised to see him with his hands up. He thinks for himself and gets mad when you don’t let him crawl in the washing machine or go down the stairs. He crawls for the stairs really, really fast when he knows you’re chasing him. He’s the perfect mix of ornery and sweet. He’s on the brink of toddlerhood, regardless of how I feel about it. He’s going to grow up faster than Maximus ever did because he wants to be just like his big brother. He wants to play pretend camp with Maximus and sleep on the floor, even though Maximus wants him nowhere near.

I don’t always get the chance to see my boys in this way. Most days I’m too caught up entertaining them, or feeding them, or getting them dressed to see how much they’ve changed. I can see it in their eyes. Taking everything in. I see it in their body language and the way they sleep. They are literally growing up before our eyes.

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