Tonight was bath night.
I filled the tub and K dumped in his toys, a set of foam trucks, roads, and signs that his grandparents recently gave him. He pulled his pants down to his ankles, a new trick he’s recently mastered. Once naked and in the water, he “swam like a fish!” and then carefully deliberated about where on the tile wall to stick each two-dimensional component of “my job site.”
As I watched, I thought about how much of him has changed in the year since I last Sliced. Almost three, he can now (partially) dress and undress himself. He can follow directions. He can jump with two feet off the ground. He tells us stories that make sense and we can understand. He has parts of his favorite books memorized. We have conversations. He can name all of the trucks and most of his colors. He counts: “one, two, seven, eleven, fourteen, nine!” He recites most of the alphabet and sings his favorite songs. He picks out what clothes he wants to wear. He laughs at our jokes.
And in so many ways, he is still a baby: he sleeps in his same crib, still relies on his pacifier to settle him to sleep, still wants me to rock him before bed, still wears diapers, hasn’t made the transition from Mama and Dada to Mom and Dad. Not yet.
At one point, he held a piece of forked piece of road in his hands, studying the wall, deciding where it should go. I was reminded of Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” and its less well-known lines, Frost’s oft-mistook theme of regret:
And both that morning equally layIn leaves no step had trodden black.Oh, I kept the first for another day!Yet knowing how way leads on to way,I doubted if I should ever come back.
Because I think in poetry, I am reminded of another poem, Kahlil Gibran’s “On Children“:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.