That’s it — I’m not really needed around here anymore. Liam can feed himself Cheerios. He can’t open the box, or get them from the store, yet, but really, that’s just a matter of time. He is delighted with his new ability, and I really don’t think there’s any turning back for him. From here, it’s on to catching, skinning and preparing his own meals. He’ll also be walking any day, and is quickly figuring out how to work Benjamin’s tricycle at the same time. He’ll probably be driving and looking for his own place by the end of the month.
On the other hand, Benjamin is having a hard time with his latest chapter of growing up. He tells me he loves school, and that he wants to keep going, but he wants me to be there. Tonight he told me that if we go to school tomorrow, and Liam & I leave, then he’ll “be all alone there”. And then he cried. My poor, sweet, little guy.
Liam is quickly progressing down the path which takes him to independence (as he should) while Benjamin resists his progress down the same path (also appropriate). Liam is too little to be worried about what things he might be giving up in order to gain some independence, and he doesn’t yet worry about losing the special things that come with being a baby. For Liam, progress is all positive. Benjamin revels in the “big kid” stuff he can do, like riding his bike, running really fast, eating ice cream on his own, reading his numbers and some letters or getting to sit on a “real seat” on the train. But, he’s also holding tight to things that make him feel like a baby: wearing diapers, drinking from bottles, staying home all day with me and Liam. He’s concerned, I think, that by making progress, some things are lost, and right now he’s unwilling to let go of those things. He wants to make sure he’s still my baby — that he’s still special and treasured and will be protected and kept safe.
I know, of course, that the love I have for my kids has nothing to do with their ages or maturity. Benjamin will learn that he doesn’t have to give up the comfort and security of “mom” and “family” by extending himself into the world. He will know that we will love him, and that he is special to us, regardless of how grown up he is. (Liam will learn that, too, but not for a while. It will never be the issue for him that it is for Benjamin, because he will have seen it happen with Benjamin and will understand, without having to experience it, that it will be true for him, too.)
Both of my boys are growing up. Liam is always trying to keep up with his big brother, but right now, Benjamin’s trying to go back to what Liam has. I love them both a phenomenal amount, and I want to do everything I can to give them the most happiness possible as they take this journey. Right now, Liam wants Cheerios. I think Benjamin wants hugs and cuddles. Luckily, I can provide both.