Twice in one week Kevin said "that, that right there... is Matthew..." when I did some thing. I pointed and said something silly and I was jumping up and down because I was excited to eat some left over pizza for lunch. Hmmm... yeah so I am toddler at heart if you were not already aware of this.
I was surprised in some ways to realize how much Matthew's actions look like mine. In fact at day care the other day - the girls were all laughing as we got out of the car to pick Matthew up. Issy, the very sweet blond who has the patience of God, said "Matthew has been making us laugh all afternoon." Apparently another boy, Franklin, put his feet on the table and Matthew very sternly told Franklin "no feet on table". She said the expression on his face was priceless. Well, I am the enforcer when it comes to these things at home & I usually have this stern expression when he puts HIS feet on our table at dinner time. He finds the expression humorous (and he usually laughs at it and continues to put his feet on the table which usually warrants a two minute time out) but apparently at some level the expression is registering enough for him to try it out on other kids. Nice...
Really what all this means to me is that I better watch myself because someone else is watching me! I used to be ultra moody and could possibly have been whiny about things, possibly. I have really worked to change that behavior because I do not want Matthew to emulate that no more then I want him to say the f-word or "oh god". It is hard for me to change but it has also been refreshing - I enjoy my life so much more without those behaviors. Plus Matthew will not "inherit" that learned behavior. There are some family legacies that need to be snuffed out and most especially moodiness and feeling sorry for one's self can go away - far far away.
I also realize that even though Matthew does not fully understand it - and yet again I am struggling with it - I know that Matthew sees me going to work every day. We also talk quite often about this with Matthew. He is always impressed with how hard people work - he comments on it - about how hard workmen at construction sites. Some times he will even say "mommy and/or daddy working hard".
I want Matthew to have a strong work ethic and I am hopeful that by working it will not be a negative but a positive impact on his young, developing mind - he will understand that by working hard, he can have what he wants in his life. When we talk about our work - we always tell him that we work hard but we are always there for him and that is true. Without a doubt - I have never left Matthew at day care sick, I always pick him up at the same time every day and when are together we have the best times. I never feel like I do not have special time with my son. AND he is learning valuable lessons from me working.
I randomly thought this morning that while it is hard every day to leave him at day care, I am also doing us a favor. Matthew has grown and expanded from it. He sees children of different colors, races and gender every day. He hears different languages and has so many experiences that I probably could not provide near as well at home. I am also doing myself a favor. It is like training for when my child grows up and no longer has to turn to me for everything (emotionally anyway). I will be well prepared for that first day of "real school". It will still be hard mostly because going to real school is a significant milestone in a your child's life but I do not think I will be heartbroken - because I already went through that the day I left him at Tammi's house when he was three months old and again at 6 months when I left him with Katie and again at 18 months when I left him at BDLC the first time.
And finally at the end of the day, I look forward to 5:00p. Not because my day ends at work which is always great but also because I LOVE that moment when I get out of the car and see my son's bright smiling face racing toward me with his arms outstretched. I love that rush of excitement from him and hearing the yell of 'Mommy/Daddy'. I love to bury my nose in his hair and soak of my little boy and know that no matter what I will not have that kind of love from anyone but him. I know that that rushing, unabashed love will slowly be replaced in the coming years with a more reserved love of a small child, a pre-teen and a teen. I am not missing a thing because I know that literally at the end of the day my son loves me more then anything (even his blankie) and only Kevin & I can illicit that kind of response from him.