Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Sunrise Sunset ~ Fiddler on the Roof (Bock & Harnick)
Somehow, amidst the day to day concerns —school and doctors, therapy and play group, and trying to strike a balance between play and learning, enough activity and too much stimulation —somehow Nik has blossomed. Either because of all of the aforementioned —or in spite of it— time has marched on and Nikolas has joined in the parade.
I know the changes I see have not happened overnight; it’s been a mostly gradual process. Still, I feel like Nik is changing so fast that I cannot keep up with all of the changes to record them fast enough to be able to share them or tuck them away for memories. It is both giddy and exciting and a little frustrating. I could simply write a “laundry list” of new developments but I want to be able to share the feelings, the moments of pride which wash over me sometimes. They’ve been so long coming, that I want to savor each moment and serve it up like home made cookies on my Nana’s silver platter —something to be celebrated, honored, and enjoyed in the company of friends.
Nik now likes books. Roughly 75% of the time he will now choose one of his growing library of books —not all of them electronic, either —over a loud, bright flashy toy. It still takes me by surprise when he does that; for so long he would only tear or bite the books, chewing them to a pulpy mess or reducing them to a pile of shredded paper. It’s as if he is finding his own equilibrium and figuring out those moments when he needs a quiet break. I don’t know this for a fact, but I do wonder.
Lately, his favorite book is a very simple board book which talks when he turns the page. No lights, no music. Just a simple voice speaking simple words. Simple sentences accompanied by large, bright photographs of children with Mommy or Daddy, children with a ball, a glass of milk, waving Bye-Bye. Nik studies this book with a keen intensity I’ve seldom seen him apply to anything without lights or moving parts.
He carries the book around with him quite often; he even takes it with him on his sliding board. (Can you picture him, sliding down head first on his belly —holding his beloved book open??) It’s not as if he can’t bear to be parted from the book; he will often carry it to me and gently shove it into my hands to tell me he is finished with it —for the time being.
I let Nik take one quiet toy up to nap or bedtime each day; lately, he nearly always chooses a book of some kind. He usually carries it himself as he holds my hand and toddles off to bed. Sometimes, after putting on his pajamas and brushing his teeth, Nik will choose this particular book as his bedtime companion. And companion it truly is; I often hear him singing and “talking” to it before he drifts off to sleep.
Tonight, he very tenderly picked up his favorite book and brought it to me. I took it from him, asking “Is this what you want to take to bed?” He took it back as if he didn’t trust me to let him have it. I reassured him that it was okay. He paused for a moment and then gently placed his beloved book back in my hands. He reached his little hand up to mine, pulling me toward the gate, his sweet face turned up to mine with sleepy eyes, confirming that he was ready to head off to Dream Land.
The book was the last thing I heard before the soft, whistling sighs of Nik falling asleep settled into the quiet. “Bye-Bye. Baby waves bye-bye.” A tender smile lit my face as I dashed away a tear and felt my heart swell with love and admiration for my growing boy.
Oh, and have I mentioned that Nik has taught himself something new?
How to wave Bye-Bye.