Walt, age 2, just RAN into the living room, after his bath, still in his birthday suit, to show me “han! han!” [sounds like “hand” without the “d” – not like Han Solo] touching his wrinkly little palms with his wrinkly little fingertip. “So I said “What happened to your hands?” And he held them out, palm up – they were pruney from the bath! He had never noticed this phenomenon! What could it mean?! I was appropriately excited with him! Cool! The bath makes our hands all pruney! That’s amazing!
There are a lot of exclamation marks in my life, these days. It was one thing to watch this child develop as a baby. “Oh, wow, he now KNOWS that he has HANDS! He didn’t know that, yesterday!” I mean, the day your kid becomes fascinated by his own feet? That’s a fun day! But this is an entirely new level of awesome.
Now, my child knows that he is learning. And he wants me to know that he knows. This is not all adorable amazement at discovering things I don’t remember learning. Sometimes this is “Mama! Dada! Mama! Dada! Mama! Dada!” until BOTH of us acknowledge that he has, indeed, added one block to his tower. And we have to do it all over again, when he adds another block. How many towers can he build in a day? My husband said today, exhausted, “He didn’t stop talking. The whole trip to the store. Hours.”
Both of us found this after-bath moment extra-endearing and adorable and restorative, because today was a hard day. When he runs up, face lit up with pure excitement, and shares a discovery, it can light us up, too, for a minute. Just enough to keep going, on the hard days. I’ll probably think about tonight, every time I take a bath, for a long time! I hope I think about it during every bath, forever. “Mama! Han!”