Friday, July 13, 2012

First Born

Jacob is one of my favorite people on this planet. I guess that's a given since he's my son, but when we are out and about among strangers, he is quick to make friends and elicit smiles from even the grumpiest of people.

What I love about his innocent toddler-ways is that he thinks EVERYONE wants to be his friend. He will stop complete strangers, who were otherwise minding their own business reading the back of a cereal box or perusing a stack of apples, and he will march right up to them.

"Hi!" he will announce,  "My name is Jacob. I'm three and a half. I have a {baby brother/spiderman book/Cars movie}."

Usually, the stranger will look at him amused or adoringly and play along. This only fuels his toddler fire. Today, for example, he told at least four strangers about the sprinkler I made for him yesterday.

"My mommy drank all the soda and poked holes in the bottle and made a.....{he always pauses for dramatic effect before shouting the rest of his sentence} SPRINKLER! And I ran in it and splashed water on my baby brother. His name is Ryan. He is 2 months old (even though he is really 3 months old)."

If the stranger dawdles long enough, Jacob will begin to recount his entire life story. And he will do it with such enthusiasm that the most mundane facts sound extremely exciting.

"And...Tuesday (he will say a random day because he doesn't understand time) we went to the........AIRPLANE MUSEUM! And we saw a ....... FLYING CAR! Some airplanes you can sit in and some airplanes you can't sit in. Then my mommy drove to McDonalds and I ate........CHICKEN NUGGETS!

Every morning, I let Jacob dress himself. Let me tell you, it is a wonderful day when your kid can change from pajamas to day clothes by himself. That day will change your life. Not only does your kid get to exercise some independence, but it makes your morning routine much easier, i.e. you can play on the internet and "supervise." Plus, no more touching wet pull-ups and you get to laugh hysterically at his outfit choices.

Lately, when Jacob can't decide what shirt to wear, he will wear two at the same time. Forget the fact that it's 80 degrees and he's sweating buckets. Dang it! He's going to wear both his monster truck shirt AND his Angry Birds shirt!

And he is never lacking in accessories. First there's the special Jesus medal to help him be brave. Next comes the spiderman sunglasses, Mariner's hat, and bright green crocs. If you catch him on a special day, his legs will even be "decorated" in stickers.

Finally, he always has a special "toy of the day" that he drags around with him wherever we go. Somedays, it's his mini Blue Angels airplane. Other days, it's his clip-on bubbles (these totally rock his world). Sometimes, it's his Daddy's tape measure which he also has to clip on his pants because "that's how the workers do it." Sometimes, it's a three foot long foam sword.

Today, I made the mistake of buying Jacob a foam toy sword. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was the way his bright eyes lit up like stars when he saw it. Maybe it was the fact that it was on sale. Maybe it's because I secretly enjoy being smacked in the face with a foam sword. Or maybe it's because I always wanted one when I was a kid.

Even as I pulled out my wallet to pay for the sword, I KNEW it was just a matter of minutes before I experienced buyer's remorse.

Our next stop was the grocery store and Jacob talked me into letting him bring the sword with us. He clung to the handle fiercely and swung it at imaginary bad guys as we walked through the produce aisle.

"Mommy, what do bad guys eat?"

"The same things we eat Jacob."

THACK! The broad edge of his sword smacks me across the legs.

"Jacob. DO NOT hit people with that. Or I will take it away."

"Sorry Mommy. It was an accident." It wasn't. I saw him take aim.

"Do bad guys eat plums?" He asked as we passed by a stack of plums.

"Sometimes." I replied

Jacob turned around to grab a plum. As he does so, THWACK!, foam makes contact with my arm. "JACOB! Watch where you swing that!"

"Oh sorry!"

At that moment we passed the canned goods aisle and he made a beeline towards the soup. "CAN I PLEASE HAVE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP?" He asked as he ran away from my cart. He discarded his sword, which falls, abandonded, to the ground. He grabbed a can of soup and held it up in the air like it was a gold medal. "PLEASE?!"

It wasn't until five aisles down that we realized his sword is missing. So we back-tracked to the soup aisle where, luckily, the sword was just chilling out, propped up against some pinto beans. Phew.

Goof ball
We got to the check out counter and I heard, "THWACK. THWACK. THWACK."

I looked over and saw Jacob smacking his sword violently against the candy display. Thankfully, the male grocery checker just laughed as I tried to keep Jacob corraled. Nope. I don't regret THAT purchase at all!

My favorite sight in the world is Jacob riding his Thomas the Train bike. He decorates that thing like an indian war horse. Between his loud bicycle bell and the bird feathers poking out of every crack, Jacob always enters a playground with an abundance of fanfare.

"Mommy, I'm a race car. I'm going to win!" His little legs peddled as fast as pistons on a steam train as he charged forward.

"Watch this Mommy! I'm going to go over that bump!" He rode towards a raised patch of grass. When he got his wheels stuck on the bump, he scrunched his face up in concentration and heaved his tiny body against the handle bars as hard as he could. Finally, his bike jolted free and he was charging onward once more.

"See, I did it!" He said zooming in circles around me. He was unstoppable.

Until.....a bug landed on his arm.

He suddenly froze mid-pedal, shriveled his body as far away as possible from his handicapped, bug-infested arm, and shrieked like the world's biggest diva. "MOMMY. THERE'S A BUG! WAAAAAAAH. GET IT!"

I walked over to see what all the commotion was about and spied the world's tiniest lady bug crawling toward his elbow. Seriously?

"Jacob, it's just a lady bug. Those are nice bugs." I said as I took the lady bug and put it in my palm for him to see. "Isn't it pretty?"

"Oh yeah," he says, still looking skeptical. Jacob didn't move again until the bug finally took to the sky and was a good 15 feet away. Oh, my tough and independent child.

Later, at the park, I lost site of Jacob and then found him by a picnic table drinking pink juice out of a mysterious, unfamiliar beverage bottle. "STOP." I told him. "Put that down right now!" But he didn't listen. As I ran towards him, Jacob only chugged it faster. As soon as I got to where he was standing, I smacked the bottle out of his hands. "What were you doing! We don't know who's that was. It wasn't yours!"

"Sorry Mommy."

"Why didn't you listen to me when I told you to stop."

"But it tasted too good for me. I couldn't STOP!"

He may be my favorite person in the world, but that doesn't mean I don't want to wring his neck sometimes!

Here he is falling out of his chair when he is supposed to be sitting nicely and eating his dinner:

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