It baffles me sometimes.
How Manchild can be so intelligent, curious, articulate and also so . . . four years old.
How Squish can run and play and talk with the big dogs, but can’t manage to put a blanket on himself in the middle of the night.
How the two of them can resist the delicious food I make simply because it is called “dinner.”
How they can tell each other the rules — don’t hit, don’t hit back — even as they are in the midst of breaking them.
There are so many things that I know they can do. But, somehow, they don’t. Or maybe they can’t. Not yet.
They’re not interested in learning how to put blankets on themselves just now. Or in speaking about their frustration rather than barking it. It’s not important to eat dinner all by themselves. They have bigger fish to fry. Like making up silly games, discovering new methods of jumping off couches, reading the same four books over and over and over, and drilling Mom on the complexities of outer space.
But someday, they’ll get there. They’ll stop me when I try to straighten their pants. They’ll take me up on my offer to let them make dinner — and we’ll all enjoy having cake for our main meal. They’ll put themselves to bed and get themselves breakfast. And, eventually, they may even learn to play without ending up wrestling over that one special car that is somehow, at the moment, better than the other 23 that are scattered around the room.
I hope I get there, too — to the place I know I can be, but, for some reason, am not ready for. Whether it be a fear of new things that has me waiting for someone to spoon feed me every time I sit down at the table, or merely a disconnect that keeps me from realizing that I don’t need someone else to put a blanket on for me, I can do it myself — I, too, am standing at the edge of the gap and gazing hopefully, exasperatedly, at the other side. And wondering . . . when is the time to jump?
(photo is one of my favorite Bergdorf Goodman window displays from this year)