03 August 2008

Strawberry Fields, Forever

He gave me strawberries from a bright orange pumpkin, pulling them out one by one so that I could taste them, and then he went off to pick some more.

How he knows that you even pick strawberries is beyond me. The only kind he's ever encountered are in little plastic containers at the supermarket. But somehow he know.

I'm not sure when this all happened, when I knew for sure that all of his baby-ness was gone. That he was a real little boy--some Pinocchio-like transformation that boggles the mind. Maybe it was when I realized that he takes up most of his crib now, when at first, we could lay him vertically just on one end. Maybe it was when I saw his long, lithe body in the bathtub and realized that soon he won't be able to swim in it. Maybe it was when he actually asked for a time out, because it was better than having to sit through dinner with us.

It's been cumulative, with no real point of reference for me to say, "ah, there it is--the end of infancy." It still surprises me--when he remembers where something is that J and I have long forgotten about. Off he'll go, disappearing into the other room while we sit confused, and then amazed, because he knew where he was going all along. When he sings me songs in the car--knowing all the melody and the words, even though he doesn't know what they mean--no frame of reference for "fleece" or the "live long day."

It always unsettles me at the same moment that it delights me, those small moments that show me just how much he's grown, just how much he really knows., but playing pretend has been the most startling and delightful of all. He loves to play drive through at this one playground we go to. Running back and forth to get me cheeseburgers and shakes, taking my money and making change. We don't really ever go to drive-throughs, I don't know where he gets these ideas from.

But he does, and they delight him. So off he goes to pick more strawberries for me. And I take them, invisibly in my hand and eat, wishing that I could pause this all just for a moment, but then also in wondering anticipation of what comes next.

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