This year for your first birthday, I spent the entire weekend down at your house. Your birthday was on a Friday and J had your party scheduled for Sunday, so I was there all three days. I still have the party invitation on my bedside table. J came up with a Little Man theme and hand-made every invitation and they are ridiculously cute. Remind us to show it to you someday.
Anyhow, for that Saturday and Sunday, E would come and get me up right after you woke up. He would make coffee (did I mention how much I love him?) and then the three of us would hang out until Sports Man got up and J finished getting ready. Even though you could just barely walk, you preferred crawling and I came up with a game – wherever you crawled, I would get on the floor and crawl after you as quickly as I could, like I was chasing you. You would giggle hysterically and crawl a few feet away, turn around and look at me expectantly with a smile on your face, as if to say, “Come and get me!” We played games like that all morning and I absolutely loved it. I think I got more of a kick out of it than you did.
But if there is been one thing that has been true about you since The B’s took you home, it’s that you are a daddy’s boy. Of course you love J and she loves you and Sports Man more than anything, but there have been times where the Jaws of Life probably couldn’t have pried you away from E. This happened on the morning of your party. The three of us were hanging out as usual, and E remembered that he had to spray paint one of the party decorations, so he left you with me and went out into the garage.
Needless to say, you were not happy about this turn of events. You stood at the closed garage door, cried and yelled, “Da-da!” over and over again. I tried playing my crawling game with you, dangling toys in front of you, picking you up and and bouncing you on my hip, but no dice. You weren’t having it.
Finally, I tried setting you on the counter right next to the coffee maker so that you were facing me, your tiny legs dangling over the edge. You looked over at the coffee maker, stopped crying and started reaching for it. I picked you up again and pulled the coffee maker forward (and unplugged it…sorry kid) so that you could play with it. All of a sudden, you were pressing buttons and opening and closing the hatch where the coffee goes. And not just random motions and random button pushing – you were going through the actual motions of making coffee. We spent 15 minutes ”making coffee” with that unplugged coffee machine.
Being a coffee addict of the highest degree, let me just say…I’m so proud of you! But honestly, I realized something when you did that. Whenever he was home, E would get you up in the morning just like he did the weekend I was there. And every morning, he would make coffee, just like he did when I was there. He would hold you on his hip with one hand while he made coffee with the other, and you noticed that. Not only did you notice what he was doing, you noticed the specifics of it.
I know it sounds weird, but this kind of blew me away. I know that babies observe their surroundings and that they learn by doing, but I had never seen it in action before. It’s common knowledge that children watch and mimic their parents, but this was the first day I realized that you had the ability to learn from me. That simply by being around you, I could be having an impact on you. And maybe, one day, you could learn things from me, too.
Apparently, I was right sooner than I thought. My impromptu crawling game became your new favorite game to play for the next few weeks and even though it was small and silly, it made my day when I heard about it -that something I had done had stayed with you, especially something fun that made you smile. That in some small way, I can still be with you even when I’m not. I hope all of the things you learn from me make you that happy. That’s one nerve wracking thing as a parent – knowing that you’re somebody’s role model, ready or not. But I want you to know that I am going to try so, so hard to be a positive influence on you. I am going to do my absolute best to make sure that the things you learn from being around me are all good things. I want you to be proud to call me mom.
And thanks to E’s morning ritual, you’ve already got one “good thing” down pat.
Teach Little Man to make coffee: check.