I guess there's always a moment or two, after you have another baby, when you look at your older child and think "OH GREAT. I BROKE HIM."
Ohhhhh, this kid, these days.
"NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO...
"MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE...
(breathes, throws hard unyeilding object at Noah)
This weekend I had to run and jump in the pool after him, as he defiantly marched away from us, over to the deep end. I had my hands on him in seconds; I was yelling at him for many, many more minutes.
Then the whole scene repeated itself about an hour later, out in the parking lot. OH MY GOD STOP STOP DON'T RUN RED LIGHT RED LIGHT EZRA WHAT THE HELL.
He's testing and pushing. He's not the big kid or the baby.
He's always been the "good eater" so now he will not be the good eater, unless no one is paying attention while he steals bits of curry-marinaded hanger steak from my plate after rejecting the macaroni and cheese that he specifically requested only to howl miserably at the sight of, but God forbid I try to serve him that curry-marinaded hanger steak EVER AGAIN, because it's so spicy, spiiiiiiicy.
(Also spicy: carrots, hamburgers, yogurt. Not spicy: salsa, Indian food, guacamole with jalapenos.)
If you come to our house, though, you will be charmed and wonder what the hell I'm talking about. You will likely be invited to a picnic of donuts and cake and chocolate milk, all of which he will make for you in a toy microwave and provide the proper "beep boop bop" sound effects for as he taps the buttons. When you are out of milk he will fetch more.
"I be right back. Two minutes," he'll say.
Then he will hop on a broomstick and dash off, humming the theme music from Harry Potter. He might not be back in two minutes, though, in case he runs into a monster along the way and needs to sing it a lullaby to put it to sleep and then sometimes the monster needs a drink of water and then Lightning McQueen and can we read a story and also it's time to microwave some wooden watermelon, I think.
I've always called him "pumpkin."
"I not a pumpkin," he corrects me, "I a BOY."
He starts school in just over a month. He already has his backpack. He knows his shapes and colors and can count to 10 in English and Spanish.
Yesterday I went to rouse him from his nap. "Wake up, baby," I whispered.
He lifted his head but did not open his eyes. He pulled his thumb out of his mouth and muttered into his blankie: "I not a baby. I a big boy."