Life Lessons From The Toddler

He sat in the swing at the new park and I pushed him back and forth, back and forth.

“Mommy! Up sky!”

I pushed him higher.

“Mommy, I see pretty trees, and a swide, and birds, and a baby!”

“Yes,” I answered, “this park has a lot of things to look at. I see a sandbox over there.”

“And Mommy? I will tell you some-ing. I see ladies and some mans!”

“Yes, there are ladies and men here and children just like you.”

“Uh-huh Mommy,” he nods in agreement before refocusing on the feel of the swing going back and forth.

“And Mommy? I will tell you some-ing one more time. Mans have penises but ladies do not have penises. But I have a penis! And Daddy has a penis!”

I nod my head. I’m pretty sure this conversation is audible to the penis-less ladies swinging their children beside us.

“And Mommy? You are a lady. But I am a boy. But you are a gul. So you not have a penis. But guls have bottoms. And boys have a penis AND a bottom!”

I nod my head again. The other moms have decided to go play at the sandbox away from the swings. It’s probably a coincidence.

“And Mommy? Mommy, are you listening?”

“Yes sweet boy, I’m listening.”

“But it’s ok, Mommy, if you not have a penis. We can get one at the store for you.”

Pause.

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” I reply as I continue to search for the correct way to respond.

Pause.

“Yes, Mommy,” says my toddler with a defining nod.

“Would you like to get out of the swing now?” I ask.

After pondering my question, he says, “Ummmm no. You can just push me.”

There was silence now as I pushed him higher and higher. We felt the breeze blow and heard birds chirping. Sounds of children’s laughter drifted up into the air and I felt a sense of calm and relaxation.

“And Mommy? You ‘member I peed in the ice cream? And I peed in the potty? And I peed in the floor? You ‘member Mommy?”

“Yes, I do remember that. You pee in a lot of places.”

“Yes Mommy.”

“And Mommy, you ‘member that one day I was a baby?”

“Yes, you were a baby but now you are a big boy.”

“Yes, that’s right! And Mommy…”

“Look! Your friend is here! Would you like to get out of the swing and play?”

“Oh yes Mommy yes yes!”

As I help him get down from the swing and watch him run off, he turns to me as says, “Mommy, I am going away. You stay right here, Mommy.”

And so began our morning at the park. Luckily, this exchange was followed by a visit with a Mommy friend and coffee. Who doesn’t love starting their day with a play date, gorgeous weather, and a conversation about penises?

Dancing in the Wind

The sun showered down on us in slivers through the leaves; its brightness muted by the blossoming greenery.

Gentle breezes came and went and gracefully carried the kite with it as it blew, then gently placed it back on the ground when it stopped.

I watched the green kite dance in the wind as my little boy ran delightedly behind it, laughing and shrieking with joy at its flight.

A small let down in his face presented every time the breeze stopped and picked up just as quickly as it began to once again trace its steps in the wind. I watched as he trailed behind it and smiled, occasionally distracted by the flowers or rocks beneath his feet.

Cars on the road and the chirping of birds provided a background soundtrack to our moments of beauty.

I wish I had been able to capture this in a picture. This day of sunshine and breezes and the bright green of the kite contrasting with the bright red of the shirt my son picked out to wear this morning. Capture the exuberant smile on his face as he watched the kite dance in the wind and the way his hair ruffled with the same rhythm. The way the sunlight cast highlights in his hair and caught the sparkle in his eyes. Capture the playfulness of his laughter.

But there was no time for a camera and no way a camera could capture all of that anyway, so I stayed there in that moment, trying to narrate in my mind the beauty I was witnessing. I held the kite. I heard the laughter. I felt the breeze blow the kite, my son’s hair, and my body. I delighted on the pull of the kite string and the vision of my son running after it, and then sitting, perched in position for the gathering of flowers and rocks we would later take home.

I tried to encapsulate this moment in my mind. This view. This laughter. This dance of love happening in the wind. This brief moment of perfection.

He began to tire, and the breeze began to fade. It was time to go home. Whining and fussing would quickly take over if we did not go home for rest.

But in that moment, my life was a fairy tale. A picnic at a park on a random Tuesday, where my joy was encompassed in the dance of a kite and a boy’s laughter floating in the wind.

*Today, my little guy is 33 months old. Where, oh where, is this time going?