Smiling little fireman

Written Oct 30, 2012

It was the kind of moment that they write about, like when Babe Ruth pointed to the outfield and then hit a home run ball there.  Some people can sense things before they happen, or at least they see things the rest of us miss.

Call it ‘ESP’ (or ‘ESPN’,as a friend’s mother used to call it), but Laura’s got it.  The other day, after getting dressed for work, I walked into Timothy’s room.  When he first gets up, we always change him, and so after lifting him out of his crib, I laid T down, and started removing the old diaper.  Then Laura sounded the alarm.  Things shifted to slow motion as Laura exclaimed, ‘Watch it – that diaper’s not wet, and so he’s probably going to..’and she didn’t even get the last word out when I felt something funny on my leg and looked down to see my new khakis being soaked by the smiling little fireman.

Humbling as it was to be used as my son’s morning diaper, I could not help but admire my wife’s baby sixth sense.As we near Halloween and try to decide how to dress Timothy — with his sisters determined to use our former dog’s lobster costume — we can’t help but notice that many of his recently acquired talents are coming with a dark side.  Our hope is that TRBL chooses to use his new found powers more often for good than for evil.

For example, when Laura holds Timothy, sometimes he reaches out, looks her in the eye and gently strokes her face, his own face reflecting innocence, curiosity and wonder.

The dark side appears when this sweet child’s face suddenly looks intense and he shifts from Dr Timothy to Mr TRBL, and in a second has knocked his mom’s glasses to the floor and is holding a good portion of her hair hostage.

The king of the high chair has also recently learned to bite his food on command.  We hold out a happy, organic,  free range cheese puff, and say ‘bite’ and the little man will bite the puff, leaving half of it in our hand.  It’s pretty slick and he’s like a paper cutter, just slicing the airy little puff.  We imagine all of the fun applications for this new skill.

The dark side arises when Mr T gets a little overexcited with his choppers and reaches for you and digs a tooth in your forehead or arm, which can leave a mark if you’re not careful.

I taught Timothy to turn the pages of a board book.  This seemed a helpful skill, and he enjoys participating in reading.

So how could this have a shadow side?  Because the little chap loves being in control (imagine that tendency in this family).  Flipping the pages at will like a king directing his court, we fly from page one to four to seven and back to page one.  You can forget about plot or character development (though a few books, like ‘Goodnight Moon’ suddenly make more sense when read in this scattered fashion). I point out to Timo that he’ll never understand how Curious George first met the man in the yellow hat, but he just smiles and keeps turning.  Who knows how we’ll get back to quiet nighttime reading again.

This all just reminds us that learning is anything but a tidy process, and Timothy has a lot of trial and error ahead of him.  As much as we want to shorten the ‘error’ portion of that equation and lessen his and our discomfort, it’s just part of the deal, just like the mistakes we make everyday.  It’s going to happen so we might as well keep a sense of humor about it.

But I’m still tempted to make him pay to have my khakis dry cleaned.

Still grateful and learning,

The Lees

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