Growing and Changing

My oft-referenced co-worker mentioned to me last week that part of her bedtime routine with her two-year-old daughter is “flying” her to bed. That used to be part of my routine with Connor, too: one loop Superman-style around the bedroom before landing in bed. We haven’t done that for months, though.

It was then that I realized how fast Connor is growing.

Connor and Mommy Instax

Our routines are slowly changing — so slowly that I barely notice. “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” hasn’t been a staple lullaby for months; instead, our short list is mainly selections from Peter Paul and Mary: Ten Years Together (plus some others) and includes

Lemon Tree
Leavin’ On A Jet Plane
If I Had A Hammer
500 Miles (the folk song, not The Proclaimers)
Love At Home (a song/hymn from my Mormon days)

Last night, Connor decided to be super nice to me because he wanted me to have a “special day.” We shared dessert (Little Debbie Zebra Cakes) and watched Blues Clues together (I got to choose the episode). Then he informed me that he wasn’t going to play in the tub; instead, we were going to sit and talk about his day. He asked to do the rest of the routine mostly solo: getting out of the tub, fetching his towel and drying himself off, getting his toothbrush ready (with a little help) and brushing his teeth, taking his allergy medicine (with help opening the childproof cap, but pouring it himself), then getting dressed for bed.

He told me he’d asked his friends at school whether they wear diapers, pull-ups, or underwear to bed. His rival (who’s taller and huskier than Connor, but a month or so younger) said he wears underwear — so, of course, Connor wanted to wear underwear. Connor doesn’t have a great track record of staying dry overnight lately, but I wasn’t about to tell him no if he wanted to try it.

We read a book (which he let me choose), snuggled in bed together for a few minutes between the fuzzy winter sheets, sang a song, and said good night.

He stayed dry all night. (Granted, I got him up at 10pm to go potty, but still, that’s a big deal.)

It makes me wonder if this is a blip in an otherwise Very Slow Change, or if last night represented a sea change, a level-up, a new phase.

Only time will tell.

For now, though, I look at the school photos on the wall of my work cube and am amazed at how much he’s changed, and how recent yet distant two or three years ago seems to be.

The one piece of advice I get from parents of older children is to savor these years — when he still needs me to tie his shoes, help with his gloves, monitor his bathtime, read him books.

Come August, I’ll likely be leaving for work before Daddy gets him on the school bus. Our routine will fully switch from preschooler (or pre-K) mode to school-ager.

For now, I’m savoring every trip carrying Connor up the stairs when he asks (all 45 pounds of him), every nighttime book, every lullaby (even if it’s Stewball AGAIN), every time I tie his shoes for him. These moments are fleeting, and who knows when it’ll be the last time I get to do these things.

I’m not sure exactly when the last time I flew Connor to bed was. I wonder if I can still carry him Superman-style, one last time…?

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