Sometime in the last year, Puppy stretched into a long, skinny boy. The lack of diaper only accentuates it. I put a new pair of 3T pants on him, adjustable waist pulled tight, and they fell to his ankles. He eats quite a bit but seems to burn it right off, constantly running and moving and jumping.
"Do you want to play princess, Mama?" he asks.
"Sure." The answer is always, "Yes."
He climbs behind me on the chair and begins piling my hair on top of my head, pushing and twirling it into a mess of knots.
"You're a princess! You're a princess, Mama!"
He holds up a ruler and pretend to measure the height of the 'do. "How tall is it? Is it seven, Mama?"
"Sure, why not?" I have yet to figure out where this game came from.
"Give me 52 pennies. You're a princess!"
After Firefly came home, he started to ask to be carried more, which we expected. He holds his arms up toward us, opening and closing his hands like little lobster claws. He shorthands his request to be picked up: "Pick me! Pick me, please," making me feel like he's pleading for us to choose him over his sister.
He is big into puzzles right now, the 20-40 piece ones with the oversized pieces. He sits surrounded by pieces on the floor, methodically matching pictures together. When finished, he wants to undo it right away so he can reform it again. As a kid, I never wanted to take them apart once I'd finished. I like how how easily he returns to the beginning.
Someone once told me that each stage in your child's life is the best. You think it can't get any better than it is, and then it does. I was skeptical when I first heard it and still doubt it sometimes. How could I enjoy this little person any more than I do right now? Then the next stage comes and brings some novel bit of independence or ability. The wonderful things about this age: his imagination is showing more and more, we can trade sentences back and forth, we laugh about things together, he so easily finds wonder in things.
He still loves books. The librarian handed him a tote bag as his reward for participating in the summer reading program and he ran excitedly around the children's section, filling it with picture books to take home. At my parents' house, he always pulls out his favorite book, one from my childhood, it's purple cover worn. He wants us to read it to him again and again. He wants to take books to bed and in the car. He pretends to read the used car catalogs from the stand outside the post office, calling them his magazines. Nearly every day he asks if his real magazine came in the mail.
I try not to get too excited about his fondness for books. It's a bit early to be dreaming of passionate literary discussions and trading paperbacks back and forth. But the bookworm in me, the one who'd read for hours each day if she could? She's loving it.
Every now and then he asks me to lie down next to him while he falls asleep. I pause to stretch out on my side for five or ten minutes on his bed. Each time I start to think about how quickly this will pass, how little time we have left before he'll want privacy and independence. Gazing at his tiny silhouette, I try to memorize what it feels like to be close to him, the weight of him on my lap or in my arms, his giggling squirminess as I zerbert his cheek.