I just spent the evening with my friend Luke, age four. We made giant bubbles in his backyard with this and later he zoomed around like a super hero in his cape while I made dinner. So lovely our conversations... like whether or not girls can be super heroes.
I'm not even sure what we talked about over dinner, but he stopped me several times to ask what words meant. I get really excited about this because yeah, I'm talking to him in a bit more "grown up" way than when he was two maybe, but really I haven't changed much and he's just invested in a new way. Busy setting up context for these new words he's hearing. He's not shy about saying "what does that word mean?" And why should he be? Why should any of us be shy of asking about something we don't know??? In these moments I get a glimpse of pure, unfiltered learning. Thirsty, unbiased and energized learning that I wish I allowed myself to tumble into on a daily basis.
One of my favorite tasks of baby sitting is bed time. Of course I was thrilled that when Luke asked if I was putting him to bed and I answered yes, his smile stretched from ear to ear. It's always hard when that answer brings tears, especially since I look forward to it so.
So I figured dessert, bath time, jams then books as usual. Well, Luke informed me that he now takes showers all by himself and that's what he would like to do. I know this stuff is SO small in our boring grown up day to day life... but watching him get into the shower and do his thing... "and now I stay a little longer," he said after rinsing off the soap, "and sing my song..."
Ok, big kid.
I don't know how parents deal. I just sort of stood staring for a minute and I think it was seriously a portal to time travel. It was like I could see the past, present and future Luke all wrapped up in one and it was overwhelming to say the least. I literally had to shake my head or else I probably would have lost it.
I'm making this all dramatic, but I'm obviously quite fascinated by the idea of growing up. To me it starts as soon as kids realize they can let go of your hand when they get to the other sidewalk and always remember to do so. Luckily, Luke and Eleanor still forget sometimes...