Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Toddler: Baby or Boy?

All smiles at the Musee d'Orsay
A little while ago I was picking William up from garderie; in his haste to get to me, he stumbled and fell, bonked his head and started to cry. The woman beside me chastened him saying something along the lines of big boys don't cry. I was instantly furious (I find my slowness to anger has deserted me as a mother....I now get instantly furious if its something to do with my kid). He's not a big boy, I thought, he's just a baby, and a tired, hurt baby at that! But once the tired baby was soothed and put to sleep, I went in to have a look at him. He was so big in his crib, taking up nearly 3/4's of it. Clearly not so much a baby.

William has always been physically adept, and this hasn't changed. He never walks anywhere, always runs. He is an agile climber (terrifying when you live on the 11th floor) and loves testing his balance on the play structures (more terror). But it is his language skills that have really taken off. I swear he learns a new word every day, some in French and some in English. Some of my favorites have been 'oh la la', 'aller' and more recently 'bravo!'. One day on our way back from the pool he trotted past a neighbor and said cheerfully 'ajou!'. He'd been saying this for awhile without me getting what it was, but when the neighbor responded with a 'bonjour' I realized what he was saying. He made the link all on his own that 'water' was the same thing as 'l'eau'; he says woof woof equally to doggies and chiens, and quacks at canards or ducks. William had Greg and I in stitches one night as he called to us from his crib: allo! Allo? Alllooooooo!, all in different voices. Of course, he has also learned to parrot swear words so suddenly we are needing to watch our French, quite literally!

William getting in couch time
Recently, William has begun to enjoy kids T.V. I don't want him to be a big watcher, but I have to admit, half an hour of quiet with him glued to the tube is golden! I often sit and watch with him as the shows are just about the right level of French for me, ha ha! I notice a lot of them come from Quebec. He also has come to adore You Tube videos, with his favorite being this treacly version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Hearing William hum the tune in his piping little voice makes watching it for the 18 millionth time totally worth it.

William drinking some l'eau

William has been so much fun to spend time with this summer. He likes to go, and he is charming and very cute, so we get a lot of attention! We go to lots of parks and gardens, or to the one water park in the city (which is actually supposed to be a fountain, but everyone uses it as a water park). We checked out Paris Plage and the Base des Loisirs (recreation areas). We also do lots of swimming in our local pool, and he is getting quite comfortable in the water, learning to kick and blow bubbles. He travels really well and we went to the Baltics and Normandy as a family, and London with Nana and Papa. His favorite thing in the whole world is garbage trucks, followed closely by fire trucks and busses. He loved the red busses in London. "A bus!",  he exclaims, or "wooo wooo" for the fire truck. He can hear the garbage truck coming from blocks away and we have to drop what we are doing to go out and watch it.

Me n' my baby
In some ways, and on certain days, William is still a baby. He loves to cuddle in bed in the morning and he still wants his Mama nana. He still wants me when he is hurt or tired. And of course he still needs me to care and do for him even if he is Mr. Independent most of the time! But the true baby days are over, and in many ways I miss them....they went so fast, and even though they were not long ago, I don't really remember what he was like then. I guess we are absorbed in the stage William is at now and enjoying it to the fullest. And he is so much fun, more fun than ever. I comfort myself knowing that William is busy becoming a boy, but no matter what he will always be my baby.