My two-year-old's been saying yes ("essss!") for a year or more, but just yesterday morning, he began to use its antonym for the first time.
Yep, that's right. I have a toddler so sweet and accommodating that he hasn't bothered to say "no" to his mama-- or anyone else-- for the first 2.25 years of his life. Now, we've heard him say plenty of other words, so we knew it wasn't a matter of ability... more a matter of motivation, I think. What burning issue drew the negative from his lips, you ask? A dire situation: I wanted to pull him up and out of his crib, and he had other plans. "No," he said gently, smiling, waving his feet at me.
Translation: No leaving the crib until These Little Piggies is performed on each foot.
Am I wondrously blessed or what? Naturally we did the Piggy Ritual before exiting the crib, and came on downstairs. Later on when I turned on the Netflix On Demand and began paging through our queued kids' movies, the word was used again, clear as day: As each video came to the foreground, he seriously but softly gave me his verdict. "No." "No." "No." When we stopped at one of the Thomas the Train videos, hopping, squealing, and flapping replaced the negative, with his adorable approximation of train sounds: "Chi Chi! Whoa Whoa!!"
My heart swells with love for this little boy. He's taken his time, but since he finally started walking just after his second birthday, there's been no stopping him.
He's growing like a weed, adding words every day (Today, his first sentence: "Ducks, PLEASE!" to his Poppop, begging for a golf cart ride to go see the course's ducks. Again, my heart: first sentence includes the word PLEASE?? How did I deserve such a sweetheart of a child?)
My baby suddenly has little-boy interests and passions: legos, trains, construction equipment, letters. He's a committed vegetarian, diving happily into his spaghetti tonight while expertly spitting out every last bit of meat that we tried to sneak into the sauce. He kicks his shoes off endlessly in the grocery store cart, laughing me when I groan and bend to pick them up AGAIN. He rests his head in my hand at the dinner table, a gentle moment of love before he proceeds to cover himself and everything within arm's reach with his dinner. He still prowls the house in search of letters, both his magnetic fridge treasures and any letter he can spot on a book, magazine, or piece of mail. "O! P! X!" he screams, pointing a hand nearly shaking with joy at the proper letter.
Oh, my goodness, I am so proud of him. After his surgery, his misdiagnosed infection, his slowed growth, his poor botched circumcision, his eczema, his milk allergies... he's been slow to take off, to really show us the Quinton that's been hidden underneath all these struggles and his contented nature. At last, though, he's starting to rip the curtain away, chortling and squealing and racing around with glee as he does so.
What a fella. And what a soft spot I have for him.
I am sad (in more ways than I can quite articulate) to lose my little baby, but this little boy that's emerging is so fascinating, so special. Onward we go... lead us into your next adventures, buddy. We'll be cheering you on.