On Tuesday the kind folks at J's place of business threw us a baby shower. I had known for about a week, but kept the secret from J. Hendrik and I excitedly got ready for our rare trip into Dallas, and J's assistant met us at the door and led us to a conference room where J was leading his staff meeting. We told Hendrik to knock on the door, but that's not his style. He busted through the door, catching his father completely off-guard, exclaiming, "Hi Daddy!" as he jumped into J's arms to give him a hug.
Looking across the table, H spotted a familiar face. "That Mr. Clint," he said, matter-of-factly, before running around the table to greet him with a fist bump. J and I looked at each other stunned: he had met Clint exactly twice. The first time was a brief lunch ages ago, and the second time was about two months ago, when J was in a car accident on his way home from work, and Clint drove him home and stayed for dinner. How does this child remember names better than we do?
J went around the table making introductions, as I began to sweat trying to remember who I'd previously met. A few minutes later several people had to leave; when Hendrik noticed, he innocently asked, "Where's other Mark?" Yes, the second of two Marks had left the conference room. I could not have told you that, but apparently my two year-old's knack for detail is unprecedented. He misses nothing at this stage in life. It's incredible.
A snapshot of his morning routine: He wakes in the morning, climbs out of his queen-sized bed, and undresses down to his diaper (he is careful not to take his diaper off, as he knows all that poop would create quite the mess). Then, he picks out his shirt and shorts, grabs a diaper, and gingerly places the wipes (opened) next to the other things. Now that everything is prepared to his liking, he heads to the doorway, which is blocked by a baby gate. "Mommy! Want Mommy to come change you diaper! Come on, Mommy! Come upstairs!"
This is how I am roused each morning, as I need more sleep than he does these days. It is so difficult to move, it usually takes me about 10 minutes to get out of bed. "Coming, Snooze!" I yell up groggily. "Mommy just needs a minute to wake up."
Eventually, I lift my swollen limbs and belly out of our cozy bed, throw on some shorts and head up to his room. He greets me with a warm "Hi Mommy!" as I take down the gate, and then proceeds to tell me some of his plans for the day. Usually something like: "You want milk and a vitamin. Only one vitamin a day! Want to go downstairs and eat a waffle." Then I'll brief him with the day's agenda (you know: library story time, grocery shopping, My Gym camp), change his diaper, and stand back as he insists on dressing himself in the clothes he's selected.
Sometimes I can't believe what I am seeing.
He's a boy. At two and a quarter, he's a little man who knows what he likes (Gotye, Adele, waffles, granola bars, and any activity that involves his buddies). I'm astounded at just how smart he is; what he retains. He is a SPONGE, and can recall details that both J and I have long forgotten. He's always busy busy busy, planning trips (typically to California) and selecting activities ("Want to go build with Mommy!"). He identifies lots of emotions ("Mommy yelled! Mommy's frustrated!") and is quick with a silly face or some nonsense chanting and giggling to lighten the mood. He loves to make us laugh.
Yesterday morning, as I took the gate down, he noticed the nail J had put in the door frame to keep the gate in place. "Need to hammer this!" he said, before running to the playroom and returning with his drill and hammer. And then he worked on the nail, first with the hammer, then with the drill (which he explained, "This is you drill. This is you drill bit."). Where did he come from?
We just adore him; and still sneak upstairs before we go to bed many nights just to catch a glimpse of him sleeping peacefully. He's so exquisite, sometimes we just giggle and recount the things he's said. "Can you believe him?" we ask each other, as we have since the day he was born. He will be 35 someday and will leave our home with his wife and babies and we'll turn to each other and repeat, "I still can't believe we made him."
And soon (well, not too soon since there are no signs of ANYTHING going on in the old cervix), we'll have another one. A little boy or little girl, who will make our family even more complete. Only this time around, he or she will have a Hendrik. Who tells me often "I can't WAIT for baby to come!" and really, really has his heart set on taking baby to the airplane museum almost immediately after delivery.
We can't wait to meet you, Newbie. To see who you are and marvel at your face and repeat daily, "Can you believe we made this?"