Shopping for birthday supplies with my enormously chatty almost-four-year-old. He chose these candies and this candle. Last year he really didn’t want to turn three, and refused for several weeks to accept the change. This year he can’t wait for his birthday. “Is it this month?” he’s been asking … for months.
He makes us laugh. And it is so easy to make him laugh. “How old are you turning again?” I asked yesterday. “You’re going to be five, right?” “What?! No!” Big snorts of laughter. “Oh, I know — you’re turning back to two. Right?” More laughs. “What?! You can’t go backward, Mommy.” “Oh, that’s right. Hm, well, then, you must be turning four.”
“No!” Suddenly serious. “Do it silly again, Mommy.”
I’m glad he’s over his existential crisis of a year ago and happy to be growing up. But here’s the thing. I’m the one who’s experiencing pangs this time around the sun. My littlest is so tall and logical, so learning his letters, so able to dress himself, so trained overnight, so good at playing with his big brother and sisters, so big. And I’m thrilled, and it’s wonderful. And I love sleeping through the night and having this freedom during (part of) the day. But those baby years are exactly what everyone tells you — gone so fast. In a flash.
Could my years already be gone? Yes, by all available evidence they are, for real. But I haven’t quite accepted it yet.