It’s amazing how the small things that your little one does makes your day and appears extraordinary in your own eyes. Our son has just started clapping now on his own and we think it’s the most awe inspiring, ingenuous thing we have ever seen. I know that other children are capable of clapping but it can’t be as perfect as when Nicholas claps. However, we are incapable of proving that our son is an expert clapper because he is now in his anti-social phase. Therefore, whenever we try to show off his talents he just stares at the audience blankly with no indication that he even understands the request which ultimately makes us look like idiots. But it never fails, once the company leaves or turns their heads he is clapping like a pro (just like that opera singing frog on Bugs Bunny).
Currently, I work part-time and one of my biggest fears is to miss an important milestone of our son. Sometimes it seems as if his nanny and I are competing to see who can give the best account of what amazing thing my son did that day. Mind you, this conversation must be hilarious to watch because she only speaks Spanish and I speak English and the most broken Spanish you can ever imagine, I like to call it New York Spanglish. The conversation often begins with me telling her what Nicholas has started doing over the past few days; so I might say “Oh Nicholas is now clapping his hands and pulling himself up to stand!” This statement is often very animated and I use my hands a lot-I guess I think it will help the translation go smoother. The nanny will promptly answer, in Spanish, “Oh yes, he has been doing that for awhile and with me he is able to do a back flip and a somersault!” Okay, I am exaggerating, but it sometimes feels as if it’s a competition to see who can outdo the other person. Regardless of the outcome, I know that it is the traditional “mother’s guilt” that plays a role in regards to my motivation during these exchanges.
Now another amazing thing that my genius child does is play a game called “Now that I’ve got it you can’t have it”. And this little bugger has the most amazing grip strength. It wouldn’t be so bad if he were only grabbing things that belong to him like pacifiers and toys, but no, Mr. Quick hands likes to play this game with fragile things like bank checks, bills, work papers, etc. And the more I try to pry his little hands loose without ripping the papers, the tighter he grips and the more he laughs. He has also recently developed the ability to move the items back and forth continuously out of my reach-now where did he learn to do this? I think these moments are my small hints of what is to come in his teenage years because I don’t think stubbornness decreases with age and he sure didn’t get it from me. However, no matter how frustrated my son makes me, he has also mastered the ability to make me smile and forget my anger by performing one of his genius acts at just the right time.
Recently, my son has decided that he no longer wants to sleep through the night. I truly think that this is a conspiracy. I think that somehow he has noticed that despite my 22 weeks of pregnancy, I am looking too rested and relaxed and he has decided to singlehandedly correct this imperfection. So, in order to rectify the situation, he now he wakes himself up multiple times during the night and what is ingenious is the way that he wakes himself up. He rolls around his crib in his sleep until he inevitably hits the corner which promptly causes him to wake himself up and cry until someone comes to rescue him. Ironically, I am the only parent who is able to hear this cry so I must get up and try to put him back to sleep. My husband used to be such a light sleeper when we first met; so light that he once told me that he could hear a man tapping on a window 10 stories down from our New York apartment-with a quarter! He has miraculously overcome this affliction and is now able to sleep through almost anything-shouting, airplanes, gunfire, loud music and you betcha a crying baby. Now, once I have my son and we are sitting in the rocking chair trying to go back to sleep, the frustration and fatigue that I feel can be so great that I often turn on the television (without sound of course) to assist with calming my mood and to keep me awake. On one particular night, I was getting really frustrated because Nicholas wasn’t falling back to sleep and he was squirming all over the place. I knew that in less than 3 hours I had to get up for work and I just felt frustrated, depressed and angry all in one. At this particular moment of distress, my son sits up on my lap, gives me the biggest smile you can imagine and starts to clap along with the people on the television. He was so proud of himself and my heart just melted. Damn, men do these things to you all the time!
So in conclusion, it is definitely a survival tactic for our kids to seem so remarkable to us. It’s these feelings that keep us from doing something drastic when they drive us crazy. Although I would rather appreciate the genius during regular day hours, it doesn‘t have to happen in the wee hours of the night!