Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Baby Kisses, Boys and Girls

            The parenting books say that a good precursor to potty training is to let your child watch you use the toilet. I suppose it helps them get the general idea, and inspire them to try it on their own someday. So, occasionally, when I’ve already got Joshua in my arms, I’ll pop into the bathroom and pee while he cranes his neck down to see what exactly I’m doing that’s making all that interesting noise.
            Of all the times I’ve done this, yesterday was the first time I allowed him to hold something in his hands.
            It was the baby monitor.
            And yes, it took a plunge.
            I’m quite amazed, really. Celia hasn’t learned to throw things until the last couple of weeks, at two-years-and-eight months, and Joshua isn’t even one yet. I even held him as far away as possible, so that there was no possible way he could possibly throw it into the toilet, of all places.
            In shock and with a sense of urgency, I awkwardly leaned over, still peeing and holding Joshua on my hip, to retrieve the monitor out of the toilet. I instantly thought about how absurd I must have looked before examining the destroyed $45 electronic device and thinking, “Another one bites the dust.”
            Having one child is a pretty big surprise. Having two kids is, in some ways, an even bigger surprise, because we figured we knew what to expect with the first one. When Celia was eleven months, she loved reading books, playing with dolls, and sitting in people’s laps. With Joshua, it’s a completely different ball of wax.
            I think what fooled us is that all kids develop similarly – learning to walk, learning to talk, learning to stack blocks. But it’s where they differ that throws me for a loop.
            Joshua is definitely a boy. He loves playing with cars and trucks and anything mechanical. He loves looking at whirling fans, and running around with sticks or anything long and hard so he can hit things with it. He is riveted by percussion. He doesn’t have much patience for books. And as I discovered yesterday, he can already throw as well as his big sister.
            I was telling our friend, a naturopathic physician, about Joshua’s throwing skills, and she made everyone in the room stand up and put their arms at their sides, palms facing forward. I was surprised to see that the arms of every female in the room were significantly further away from the body than the arms of the males. This, she explained to me, is why males are generally better throwers than females.
            “So,” she explained, “It’s built in that females will ‘throw like a girl’.”
            Ah ha.
            It’s been surprising and enjoyable to watch my kids develop differently. Joshua is now walking, although still unstable, but it’s opened up a whole new world to him. I simply love watching the world through his eyes. He grins from ear to ear at the simplest things, and it lights up my day just being near him.
            I love his kisses, which are basically big open mouthed face plants. Eleven-month-old baby kisses are one of the best things in this entire world. I’m looking forward to getting another one, just as soon as I get back to the house.
            As far as the other challenges with raising a boy, I’ve already given up the idea of having a perfectly clean, controlled home. And the way we spend money on diapers, I’m not overly upset about losing a $45 baby monitor. This is all part of the adventure of parenting.
            My son is at a wonderful age, where all of life is fresh and interesting. Before I had kids it was easy for me to take things for granted, and get sucked into routines. Now, I find myself fully engaged, fully aware, and fully immersed in this thing called parenting.
            And that makes me fully engaged, aware, and immersed in this thing called life.

1 comment:

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