Acting Grown Up

Roman really wants to be a big kid. He tries to convince us, usually through his actions, that he should be able to do all the things that Elena gets to do. When he knows that a meal is almost ready, he climbs into a chair at the table and sits down with a big smile on his face, as if he expects that we’ll let him stay there for dinner. Jenny lets him have snacks at the table, so he thinks that maybe, just maybe, today will be the day he gets upgraded to a regular chair at mealtime. When we pick him up to put him in the high chair he usually protests, but not too much. The harder task for us is getting him to eat his dinner instead of making a big mess; somehow he doesn’t realize that this is the main criterion that we will use to judge his table readiness.

Something similar happens at bedtime. As soon as we find our way into the kids’ room to start our routine, Roman makes a beeline for Elena’s bed, climbs in, and lies down like he’s ready to go to sleep right then and there. We convince him to join us while we read scriptures and say a family prayer, during which we struggle to get him to pay attention, but after that he’s likely to run for the bed again. When the time comes, we can take the side off his crib and convert it into a toddler bed, but he won’t be ready for that anytime soon.

I did make one big kid bedtime concession a when it was my turn to tuck him in a few nights ago. Many nights he resists me and Jenny ends up going in after he cries for a while, but this time Jenny was away and I wanted to give Roman the best possible chance to fall asleep peacefully. He had been playing with his ball a lot that evening, so I let him hold onto it when I put him down. He was so happy, fell asleep peacefully, and showed it off proudly to Jenny the next morning. I think we started to let Elena have stuffed animals in her bed when she was about this age, so why shouldn’t he get to have a ball?

When we brush teeth, he used to be content just to hold onto his own toothbrush while I brushed Elena’s teeth. Now, he wants me to brush his teeth at the same time I work on hers. This time his desire to be more like his big sister is a good thing, even though I’m pretty terrible at the simul-brushing.

The last example of this is just funny and cute. He’s enjoying books more, because he’s begun to find the patience and self control to pay attention when we read. When I tell him to go pick one out he runs over the bookcase, then bends over a little bit and stares intently at the book spines, as if he’s reading them all and pondering all of his options. Then he picks out one of his favorites and brings it over to me, obviously pleased with his selection. When he chooses one of the simplest board books he loves to help “read” the one main word on each page and point to the corresponding picture. He really is growing up fast, but maybe not quite as fast as he sometimes believes.

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