I hung out at San Jose’s Westfield Valley Mall with the kids today and during our time together, I learned to appreciate, respect, and understand my son just a little bit more than I did yesterday.
Westfield Mall opens at 10:00 a.m. like pretty much every other place in San Jose. I got the kids ready and we were not only out the door at a great time but made it to the mall at 9:59 a.m. just as a Macy’s employee was getting ready to unlock the doors for the day’s business. Big mama win on punctuality here! Go me!
During the course of our time together, I learned three things about my son that I kind of already knew but that I know even better after today.
(1) He is sure of himself.
Our first stop at the Mall was the kids play area just outside the Macy’s Women’s entrance/exit. It was early enough and not crowded. I had previously visited here on a Meetup play-date so I knew where to go and what to expect.
This morning, TJ had picked his own clothes out and wanted to wear all white. He loves white colored clothes and that’s perfect for the kind of heat we have been experiencing here. Seeing that the dryer still had his clothes in it (Mommy fail on my part- that load dried on Sunday – 5 days ago – and it is still in the dryer, just hanging patiently till I get to it), he found and pulled his white shorts out and kept saying, “Mommy..white, Mommy, white!”Aaron already had the white shirt on him this morning.
When I got busy doing something else, he ran into the living room with his white shorts and when I saw him next, he was standing next to me, white shorts in hand, his previously worn brown shorts already off him (Yay! Now that he knows how to pull his pants down, we are one step closer to potty training).
Anyway, so there my little big boy was, in white, climbing, sliding, jumping, hopping, crouching, hiding, and all in all, having a blast by himself. I couldn’t help but think of the days when Baby E will be old enough to play with her big brother. What fun that would be!
After he thought he had, had enough, he just decided it was time to go and walked over to where I had left our shoes (no shoes allowed here and shame on me for forgetting to bring socks for TJ) and picking up my shoes to bring them to me, said, “Mommy, done” meaning it was time to leave the play area and go do something else.
It’s a personality thing.
I have come to appreciate and respective this air of finality as a mark of his personality. When he says he is done with something, he is actually done and wants nothing more to do with that thing at that time. It is the same with toys and food. When he gets to his point of satiation, whether it is playing with a particular toy or eating, he is done. With food, I may still try to force more food in him but that almost never works. He knows his appetite and I respect that. It took me a long time to recognize this just because I am a mom and I like to feed him more than he thinks he needs. Clearly though, he understands his own needs better even at 2 years of age.
(2) He has a goofy sense of humor.
The first time I knew my son would grow up to have a great sense of humor was when he was 10 months old. We were in India visiting my family when it just happened to be me and Baby J that one evening and it had something to do with random street dogs barking outside on the road by my parents’ home. I am not sure what it was exactly but every time that something happened, the dogs would bark to the point where we could predict the barking. I mentioned this to Baby J who was playing in his Pack N Play beside me.
I wasn’t sure of his perceptive skills or even language grasping skills at this point but he got it. He knew what I was trying to tell him and then the next time that something happened, I just looked at him and he laughed when the dogs barked, and this happened again and again. He knew why I was laughing and he was laughing with me. He was in on the joke and actually got it.
There are many examples of his more recently honed sense of humor but today’s example was just funny because it was simple. We had to make a restroom stop. I went into the handicapped stall since that was the only one big enough to accommodate the three of us and I was still wearing Baby E.
At one point, TJ laughed as he uttered the word, ‘bum’ loudly and over and over again for everyone to hear. He was laughing with so much glee, it was fun to just watch him say it and giggle to himself. I was too amused to react in any other way. What other way was there but to also laugh at a child’s innocent showcasing of a recently learned word?
(3) He can be kind, thoughtful, and considerate.
TJ loves riding the escalators at this mall. It is a little annoying to us to have to do this with him a few times because not going along only causes tears, screams, and a tantrum. For everyone’s sanity, the last two times we’ve been at this mall, Aaron has accompanied him to one of the escalators and allowed him the space to ride them.
Today however, strolling TJ while wearing Baby E, I was not in the least interested in going through escalator-related emotions that may potentially get out of hand. When we got to the first escalator he saw, he started squirming in his stroller and kept saying, “Mommy out, Mommy out” trying to tell me to get him out so he could ride the escalator. I knew this would happen!
I calmly told him that, that wasn’t going to happen today. I told him that I would not be able to manage him, the baby, his stroller, and the escalator rides and that perhaps we could consider doing it the next time we visited the mall and with daddy. He nodded and just like that, understood where I was coming from. How refreshing! After that talk, he did not once ask for an escalator ride for the entire time we were there.
He is only two and he is not always expected to have an adult sense empathy and understanding but he has a knack for appropriating just such behavior at the most unexpected of times.
As he gets older, I hope he continues to grow into his own person with qualities like determination, assertiveness, a sense of humor, kindness, empathy, thoughtfulness, and consideration for his fellow human beings. If he does, I know I will have done my job.