Friday, December 30, 2011

Dawn of a new year

Well, a new year is just about upon us. That means a time to reflect on the year that was and the year that will be.

First off, we are blessed and have much to be thankful for. We have two great, healthy and growing boys, we have loving families and friends, we own a house that is not underwater, we are never in want for food, and although there is inevitably something we'd like to have or somewhere we'd like to go, we have so much already. We have our faith, thanks to a neat church with fun, caring people. We have much to sustain us. Life, on balance, is good.

Not that there aren't trying moments. If you ask me without thinking to come up with two words to describe 2011, I would probably say fatigue and patience. Fatigue, and I mean the overwhelming kind, is a direct result of overseeing, guiding, managing, teaching, loving, nurturing, counseling, disciplining, nursing, shushing, bathing, picking up after, cleaning up after, running after, and repeating many of the same steps over and over and over again. It is nonstop, and it is taxing.

Hence, the fatigue. Yet in this fog of too little sleep and too much stress is a bounty of rewarding moments, small and large. In Nathaniel's world, the changes in 2011 have come fast and furious: New words and phrases – "That's disgusting," "You're silly," "Santa Claus" and the consequences of being naughty. New songs, many of them learned at school – "the clean up song," which goes: "Clean it up, (cluck tongue twice), clean it up/ you can make it fun to do, and your friends can help you, too/ clean it up, clean it up." A new way to sit, "Crisscross, applesauce," to deter him from squatting in the inverted "W" position, which is supposedly bad for hip development. New books – The "Little Critter" series, Dr. Seuss and others. Increased coordination: Shooting a basketball by holding the ball over his head and aiming it for the hoop, learned after watching one of Uncle Matt's players shoot a free throw in a game. New dance moves: from pirouettes learned by watching dancers at a downtown holiday festival to break dance moves learned from who knows where. This is just a taste of all that our 3-year-old picked up in 2011. I can only imagine that the learning will only accelerate in 2012.

As for Isaiah, the list may not be as long, but the advances are equally noteworthy. He can bounce a ball and corral it with admirable coordination. He can "sprint crawl," meaning that he can hustle floor bound nearly as quickly as some can walk. He can take a few halting, wobbly steps at a time. He can eat – boy, can he eat! Isaiah packs away as much as Nathaniel and frequently, even more. He stuffs so much into that little mouth of his that his cheeks bulge like a chipmunk's. Sometimes, he packs food in so rapidly that he chokes himself. I'm not kidding. With the synchronized rhythm of both hands moving food to mouth, it's like watching an assembly line of eating. The kid packs it away, and he has the belly to show for it. And, when the feeding has ended, Isaiah is always the most content person in the room. He beams, he laughs, he coos. Like his daddy, few things make him happier than having conquered a good meal. At 1, I would imagine that the appetite will remain in high gear in 2012. We can expect a slew of other milestones from our youngest in the new year.

I am glad to be a witness to it.

Happy new year, everyone!

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