Friday, April 02, 2010

Holding on and letting go

Now that she's mastered grasping objects, one of Jewel's favorite games is Pick Up-Hold-Drop-Repeat. Mama and I are responsible for the first and last steps, while Jewel handles the middle two. This week, she also taught herself how to shake things, first with her left hand and now with her right, although that's still more like a waving rather than shaking motion.

These skills, combined with her preferred position--sitting bolt upright on the floor--have made it easier for her to amuse herself, thereby making it easier for us to get things done around her. She is happier if she can see someone, so we'll often set her down in an entrance to the kitchen while we're cooking or on our bed while we're in our room. But these last few weeks that hasn't been necessary, since we've had multiple house guests who are all too happy to entertain Jewel.

First our niece arrived, then her mom and brother arrived. Coincidentally, her mom is also my sister, CaliforniaGirl. After a few days with all of them here, our niece had to leave, which broke a little piece off of 3B's heart...and off of my niece's too, I believe. But his aunt and nephew were still here. His aunt did things like carry him through Arlington National Cemetery--not a flat place to carry 40 pounds of squirming boy--while his cousin did things like play Lego Star Wars on our Wii, play swords, and generally be a boy.

So, when they left this morning, another piece of 3B's heart broke off, which is likely why he was in such a mood this morning. Every time Mama or I moved for the door, he broke down crying. Finally, before I left, he asked me to put him down for quiet time--what we do now instead of naps--before 10 a.m. The last time he asked us to do that, he had dual ear infections and a screaming fever.

It hasn't been easy on us grownups either. We really loved having the familia CaliforniaGirl here with us. It wasn't at all like having guests, it was like our family just grew three sizes for a week or two. And now that they're gone, we're all feeling the loss, but 3B, not having Prometheus's gift, has been hit particularly hard because it means nothing to him that in six days we'll see Aunt CaliforniaGirl again, along with Uncle MrJumbo and Aunt Herd Happenings.

It ain't easy being three.

As soon as he gets into a T.V. show it ends. Same with movies. His favorite books all end too soon. When he's having fun in the bath, it's always time to get out. Because it's always time to move on, any time he picks something up, we're telling him to put it down. To his sister that's still a fun game--as it used to be for 3B--but his toys have changed and now Mama and I can't just pick them up and hand them back to him. Sometimes there's nothing else to do but say, "goodbye," which hurts--apparently as much as dual ear infections.

I trust that someday he'll master departures, as he has every other challenge that has come his way, although his challenges are becoming more abstract, less tangible, more difficult--as are the solutions. I've had 38 years more experience than 3B with goodbyes, and it still lingers with me, leaving him this morning in his bed saying, "Daddy, please don't go. I love you."

We all have something to learn from Jewel who, when her dropped toy doesn't return to her, doesn't start crying, but rather starts looking for the next toy. Now that her hands are empty, she's able to pick up some new fun.

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1 comment:

  1. I'll claim it was Mark Twain who said, "Every day I force myself to do two things I don't want to: Get out of bed and get back in it." Or words to that effect. Or maybe someone else said it. Whoever said whatever exactly it was, I agree: Once you get into the groove, change is no fun. Hope the wood glue helps hold 3B together. Ringo said it: It don't come easy. Try to convince him the grass on the other side is green too.