It was a weekend with the Littles, and two weeks out from Halloween, it was a weekend to visit the pumpkin patch and pick the perfect ones to carve for the big event.
Riley and Jack take me to my childhood, and to memories of my kids’ childhoods. What a joy, this third time around to experience the magic and the firsts.
And even though this Halloween isn’t a true first for either of them, they’re young enough that each year is still fresh, a new experience of abilities, awareness, and memory.
They’re at that tender age when their traditions are forming. They’re beginning to know what they do “every” year. Riley, especially, is reaching the age to anticipate, to forecast, to know.
She knows Halloween is coming, that Christmas is around the corner, and that her next birthday is on the horizon.
Jack parrots Riley, so even though he doesn’t have a lot of understanding about dates and events yet, he pipes up with the right words. He copies what she says, and how she says it, right down to the tone of voice and the emphasis and excitement.
It’s delicious to be around them, to hear the baby wisdom. To hear Riley say yesterday that she would “just be the bigger person!” Of course she wasn’t…she was immediately the smaller person, in response to something Jack had done. But she’s working on it. She’s got the words, and she knows when to use them. She just has to perfect her follow through. I recognize pieces of Riley through my first-born self and my first-born daughter, and now another of us. Riley mothers, and orders, and knows. She knows what she wants. And she understands how life works, even at five.
And Jack! That boy, he’s stolen my heart with his laugh, his energy, his very joy of living. He’s almost never still, until suddenly he is, passed out in a heap of exhaustion.
We wait for that moment, every night. He’s precious, but he’s a busy one. And at his bedtime, I think you can hear an audible “aaahhh.” It’s just a wee victory, Jack quiet and down for the night.
His language is growing, every day. But he still has some of the charming baby phrasing I find so irresistible. Two months short of three, he sometimes sounds like a little boy version of Riley, who sometimes sounds like a little girl version of a teenager.
Such is the power of culture. She picks up the tone and phrases, and he learns from her.
But he’s still a Little, too. Often throughout the day he comes to announce, “I hungry!” Like the book he loves about the hungry caterpillar, he eats and eats and eats. And he runs. He’s a runner, and a jumper.
As always, any time they’re in my keeping, the goal is to pass them back safely. Bones intact, no stitches. :)
Tonight we’re done, getting ready for bed, the Littles are home with parents. But we’ll see them in a couple of weeks, gear up for another few days of being in their world, their routines, remember the rhythm and the magic.
We’ll carve the pumpkins and buy candy to hand out at the door, feel the building excitement of Halloween for little kids…the non-scary, candy collecting, neighborhood walking event.
It’s a charm-filled time in their little lives, and I’m so thankful to share it.