The older Declan gets, the more fun I’m having. Seriously, the baby phase? LAME. This phase, on the other hand, this beginning of toddlerhood and boyhood, it rocks. Everything about it is great. Declan is walking, screaming (mostly out of joy), babbling, feeding himself, understanding more, becoming more independent, and, of course, sleeping. It’s great to see him discover a new trick, like clapping, and see his pride. I love playing with him now, and am already looking forward to the next few years, when we can color, draw, play ball and read together.
I was such a huge reader when I was little. It’s all I did. I have such vivid memories of my time spent in my room alone with a good book, even as early as 6 or 7. Luckily, my mom had the wherewithal to save a big chunk of my childhood books, and I get to hand them down to Declan. It amazes me, now that I’ve gone through them all recently, how many of them I remember. And I’m talking old stuff. Like the Complete Sesame Street Library, published in 1980. It has characters never to be seen again. Anyone recall The Amazing Mumford? Or Herry Monster? Or Sherlock Hemlock? There was no Elmo, no Abby Cadabby. Big Bird was more of the star than any of them, although Bert and Ernie were pretty major players. And Prairie Dawn. PD gets the shaft nowadays. She rocked the 80s, though.
I also have this great Christmas book that features the smells of Christmas. It’s Scratch-and-Sniff, which is so fabulous, and after all these years, the Gingerbread Man still smells like Gingerbread. The orange still smells like orange, and the candy cane is still all pepperminty. More importantly, it still smells the way it did when I was 7. The scents are far from accurate, it’s a scratch-and-sniff book, for pete’s sake. But the scents are so real in my mind, that just opening the book again whipped my brain back over 20 years in a split second. It was a sad and wonderful feeling.
I think one of the most unexpected joys of becoming a parent is getting to live as a child again. Having a child gives me the right to roll around in the grass and color and read books with more pictures than words. A year ago, I would never have looked forward to a new box of Crayolas. Now, I can’t wait.