I’m not in such a sappy, nostalgic mood tonight as I was when I wrote yesterday’s post about Em. Maybe it’s because Jax’s growth is more subtle, less kick-in-the-gut obvious. His changes are many and magnificent, but they are small accomplishments on a very long laundry list of accomplishments. Not that they don’t deserve to be celebrated in their own way; don’t worry, each accomplishment is heralded as if it were miraculous. But they don’t get me as much as Em’s right now because I guess I’ve gotten used to the fact that he is growing and learning and accomplishing more than I could imagine.
I’ve been amazed by him for years.
Lately it seems like he’s jumped full-throttle on the big boy band wagon, leaving his babyhood (and sometimes sweet temper) behind. Last year at this time he couldn’t even jump. Now look at him go.
He’s hilariously driven by praise all of the sudden. It started with potty-training; when he’d succeed, he’d want to call everyone I have on speed dial and declare, “I went pee pee!” Every time for days. Thankfully, grandparents and aunts and uncles were good sports about it, but this kid loves nothing more than an ‘atta boy. We bribe him with compliments instead of cookies now. What kind of toddler is this?
He is very aware of and conscientious of having good manners. When he remembers, he tries very hard to let Em have the first turn and says, “Ladies first!” Not me so much. He asked me to help him put a napkin on his lap at Panera the other day. When he looked over at our neighbor, an extremely tolerant and sweet grandmotherly type, he announced, “Where is her napkin? She doesn’t have one on her lap. She doesn’t have good manners.” Oh, Lord, child. Cue the discussion of the words formal and informal, but I still think our poor neighbor was lowered in his esteem.
In case you wonder if my kids are perfect little cherubs with nary a fret or fuss, let me assure you, they have their moments. Yesterday as I was counting the moments until JDubbs got home from work, battling the urge to strangle Jax in all his whiny, demanding, toddler monster glory, he looked up at me and inquired, “Mommy, what’s a cocktail?” Only then did I realize I was muttering, “Mommy needs a cocktail,” to the tune of “Mary Wore A Red Dress” (from our Music Together CD), emphasizing cocktail happily. He is charming and hilarious, but he can also push my buttons like it’s his job. Which, I guess, it is. And yes, I did give in and give him Crispix for dinner, which he had had for breakfast, because I was not going to pick that as my big battle of the day. There are too many other ones to focus on right now.
Hand-in-hand with the love of praise comes the ardent desire to do whatever Daddy and his cousin Christian think are cool. Those two are # 1 and 2 on the trendsetter list. Jax wouldn’t jump out of a burning building if I told him to do it, but if Christian was down there cheering him on, forget it. He’d leap.
His personality is challenging and yet oh-so endearing. He loves baseball and will create wonderful scenarios and conversations between two of his trucks or stuffed animals or even pieces of food. He will follow Daddy endlessly with his toy lawn mower, pausing to throw sticks out of his path and stopping at the bottom of the hill to “dump” the clippings just like Daddy does. If he messes up somehow and I sigh, “Oh, Jax,” he’ll come over, pat my hand and say, with his head tilted to the side sweetly, “It’s all right, Mom (It’s aw white, Mom).” He really does love me, and all of us, as sincerely as he can possibly express.
And we couldn’t love him more.