Sometimes I forget how young he is.
He runs from room to room, playing games and helping with chores. His confidence, at home, is sure.
He climbs to the highest obstacle on every playground.
He talks. Incessantly. About anything he sees and everything he thinks. Experiences we had over a year ago. A horse he encountered once. A music teacher he hasn’t seen in fourteen months. Events I don’t recall.
His voice is nearly completely intelligible.
Last week, when I said something he thought was funny, he told me, “Get out of town, Mom.” I don’t know where he learned that.
He is self-sufficient. He dresses and undresses himself. He can open the pantry and select his own snack.
He gets angry if I lift him into, or out of, his car seat.
He dribbles his soccer ball and rides his bike.
He insists on helping to prepare his smoothies and bathe the baby.
He wants complete privacy in the bathroom.
His arms and legs are straight, all trace of roundness lost.
He smells less like a baby and more like a boy with every passing day.
Sometimes I forget he’s not quite three.
But then he hides, scared of something he saw on Dora the Explorer.
Or he cries because he can’t get his shirt on right and he misses going to school.
Or he hangs back in a new social situation, clinging to my leg, asking to be carried.
Or he’s sick and wants to be cuddled.
Or he asks me to “stay just a little longer” at bedtime.
Or he crawls into our bed in the morning, clutching his lovey and bursting with enthusiasm for the day.
It’s easy to forget how small he is.
He seems so much older.
And, in comparison to the baby, so large.
He thinks of himself as a big boy.
Except when he thinks he’s a baby.
Push and pull.
Advance and retreat.
Grow and regress.
This process is hard for us all.
Hardest for him.
He is not yet three.