Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Graham Boy: Sweet Miscellany

Graham's eyebrows just might be his trademark at this point in his life. He has really big, blue eyes, and as long as his brows are up, those bright eyes might be the first thing you notice about him. But if he's in a serious or shy mood, and his eyebrows are down, he has a whole different look. It's not exactly friendly.... actually, "scowl" seems to be the word that most people use to identify it. I don't think he usually means it as such, but let's just say it will be an area where he'll need to practice self-awareness.

Here's a fictional yet typical conversation between Graham and me.

Me: Graham, let's put on your coat. (Getting out his blue coat)

Graham: Nooooo!

Me: No, you may not say "no" to Mommy; let's put on your coat so we can go get in the car.

Graham: Cah?

Me: Yep, we gotta go. Come on, let's put on your coat.

Graham: (Pointing to vest in the closet) Jaja?

Me: Oh, you want to wear this vest under your blue coat?

Graham: (As if it was all my idea) OK!

That cheerful "OK" at the end is classic Graham. It's quite a nice way of responding to someone who has finally figured out what he wanted all along--rather diplomatic, you might say.


Practically, I should mention that Graham's eczema is sooo much better than it was, especially in that first year. He still has patches where he's always dry and itchy and needs regular moisture--mainly his legs, and especially his ankles and the tops of his feet. And right now, with the very cold temperatures, his arms and upper back are suffering too. On particularly bad days, I'll sometimes give him some Benadryl to ease the itching. But his face is always clear and soft, and I very rarely have to pull out a steroid cream for a breakout that's gone raw or oozy. We're so grateful for that.

Dave and I absolutely love Graham's current stage. I don't think there's a night that goes by where one of us (usually whoever put him to bed) doesn't say, "Graham is so cute," and go on to tell a story about something he did recently. Every single day he's coming out with new words, showing new understanding, engaging with others in new ways. It's rather thrilling to be the parent of a two-year old.

Bedtime is especially sweet with Graham He's often in a jolly mood, perhaps due to the one-on-one attention he gets from whichever parent is diapering, moisturizing, jammying, and teeth-brushing him. After the bedtime work is done, we sit and rock him in our arms and pray over him and sing, and he puts his index finger up and pokes at our faces. "Eye. Nose. Head. Ear. Aaaah." (That's his word for mouth.) He loves to be kissed and tickled and teased at this hour and has the most delighted and delightful giggle I can possibly imagine. Oh, those big, happy eyes, so full of pure, unpolluted pleasure. I never want to actually put him in the bed and leave the room. I really have to drag myself away.

Come to think of it, I guess that's testimony to some growth for me as a parent. I used to be so desperate to get the kids down and be free at last--grown up time!!! ("OK-g'night-love-you-see you-in-the-morning-mwah!" [Closing door firmly.] "YESSSSSS!" [Happy dance/exhausted slump against wall.]) Don't get me wrong, I still look forward to the peace and serenity of 8 to 10 pm, but I so often wish I could just freeze those bedside moments and live in them forever.

Now lest I mislead anyone, I will say that Graham is a fully normal two-year old who does a whole lot of screaming and a fair bit of throwing himself on the floor in all out temper-tantrums. And I definitely have times where I'm angry with him. (This evening, for example. Me: [between gritted teeth as I haul him up the stairs] "Don't fight me, kid." Graham: [choking back tears] "OK. Mama.")

But oh, man, how I do love him in between times.

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